Second only to creating a stellar product or service, marketing is a crucial part of home business success. Without it, people can’t learn about your business to buy from you. Without customers or clients, you don’t have a business.
A marketing plan is a business document outlining your marketing strategy and tactics. It’s often focused on a specific period of time (i.e. over the next 12 months) and covers a variety of marketing-related details, such as costs, goals, and action steps.
But like your business plan, a marketing plan is not a static document. It needs to change and evolve as your business grows, and as new and changing marketing trends develop.
Purpose of a Marketing Plan
Many business owners create a marketing plan and then set it aside. However, your marketing plan is a road map providing you with direction toward reaching your business objectives. It needs to be referred to and assessed for results frequently.
While some small business owners include their marketing plan as part of their overall business plan, because marketing is crucial to success, having a comprehensive, detailed marketing plan on its own is recommended. If you don’t want to make a mini-plan as part of your business plan, you can attach your full marketing plan to the business plan as an appendix to the business plan.
Benefits to a Marketing Plan
The importance of a detailed marketing plan can’t be overstated. A marketing plan:
- Gives clarity about who your market is. It’s easier to find clients and customers if you know who they are.
- Helps you craft marketing messages that will generate results. Marketing is about knowing what your product or service can do to help a target market. Your messages need to speak directly your market.
- Provides focus and direction. Email, social media, advertising, guest blogging, direct mail, publicity, and on and on. With so many marketing choices, you need a plan for determining the best course of action for your business.
Good marketing strategies, marketing skills, and innovativeness are essential components in implementing a marketing plan. In essence, marketing is a social activity that incorporates the satisfaction of customer needs and wants, and is a wholesome activity with organizational outlook, focusing on future and anticipated needs. Marketing incorporates issues such as corporate social responsibility, which determines the way businesses evaluate the impact of their activities on the society.
In view of all these, effective Marketing implementation calls upon an effective marketing plan. Philip, Armstrong, Wong and Saunders (2008) define marketing as “an integrated process through which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return”.
In addition, “Marketing is the process by which companies determine what products or services may be of interest to customers and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development” (Philip, Armstrong, Wong and Saunders ,2008).
By incorporating an effective marketing plan, the management team of coco bongo has to draw up a marketing strategy including clear identification of the actual activities to undertake to achieve their objectives as determined by (Nichols 1993).