Now that summer is winding down, it is a great time to re-visit and remind yourself of the goals and objectives of your company’s marketing plan so you can have a strong finish in the fourth quarter.
You may start by reviewing your current marketing plan and summarize which strategies and tactics have worked so far this year, which didn’t and which may need some tweaking. Are your marketing objectives and target market assumptions still valid? Or are there new external competitive and marketplace forces at work that your marketing plan needs to address to ensure you take advantage of a new opportunity or defend your current market position?
The most important factor in developing and evolving sales-effective strategies is a thorough analysis and understanding of your marketplace, target audiences and the competitive and organizational influences surrounding your company.
A marketing plan is a way of forcing you to think through every current or potential aspect of your marketing program—from competitive and target market analysis to tactics such as upgrading your website, creating new customer training events and/or developing fresh sales materials. It’s also a way of communicating your ideas and market knowledge and opening those ideas to inspection, input and validation from others to establish consensus on a path forward.
Those who have sales and marketing training know that the key principles of marketing to your customers are the four “Ps,” which include product, place, promotion and price.
These are the aspects of your business within your control and upper management focuses on them every day. What the leadership team cannot control, but consistently need to monitor and respond to address are the outside forces that can often dictate customer behaviors and marketplace shifts.
Staying on top of what competitors are doing and saying is critical to how your company is positioned for growth. The development of a market intelligence-orientation is extremely important as distributors vie for market position, customer loyalty and market share against a still-challenging economic backdrop.
Evaluating these external environmental factors, to the extent that they affect your business, gives your marketing plan a solid foundation so that it is responsive to marketplace realities.
A well-thought marketing plan gives your company a competitive advantage, helping to identify and analyze the relationship between your company, your competitors and the criteria used by your customers and prospects in making buying decisions. A good plan provides a balanced mix of integrated tactics that cohesively resonate with each other to provide maximum return for your marketing investment and ignite the bottom line impact you need to succeed.