Marketing is one of the most expensive and most important activities that is required for the growth of the business. Performing such an important activity requires a lot of planning and the use of the right kind of data. All of the required information is documented in a marketing plan.
A marketing plan is a document that contains details of all the advertising and marketing activities that a business intends to perform to increase sales, increase brand awareness, etc. The marketing plan forms part of the marketing strategy and has the step by step details of the marketing activities to be performed.
Let us begin by first seeing what a marketing strategy is and why it is important!
Marketing Strategy: What Is It, And Why Is It Important?
Marketing strategy and marketing plan are two terms that people often interchange with each other but they are two different terms. A marketing strategy consists of all the details related to the marketing of the business such as the marketing goals of the business, market research, competitive analysis, etc., while a marketing plan is a detailed outline of the individual marketing activities.
The following are some of the reasons why a marketing strategy is important to achieve the marketing goals of the business.
It Helps Gain A Competitive Edge
Any industry is filled with competitors of different ranges. Having an effective marketing strategy helps businesses to gain a competitive edge over their competitors in the industry. It also helps create a brand for the business in the market amidst existing players and new entrants.
The competitive analysis part of the marketing strategy helps gain insight into the various competitors in the industry, and gain information on their products and strategies. This helps businesses to create a unique product or service that is unlike any other in the market gaining a competitive edge over other businesses.
An example of gaining a competitive edge is shown by the iD company. iD sells ready-to-cook products such as dosa batter, flatbread, etc. The USP of iD is creating ready-to-cook products with a home touch and its unique packaging that allows easier storage, and usage unlike any other products in the market.
It Helps With Brand Recognition
The key to increasing sales and creating brand loyalty is to have a brand image that is in sync with the mindset of the target audience. An effective marketing strategy always has its target audience in mind and is created to influence them to not only buy the business’s products and services but also recognize the brand.
According to statistics, 81% of customers said that they will buy products from a brand only when they trust it and brand recognition is very important for it.
It Helps Attract New Customers
Retaining existing brand loyal customers is important but attracting new customers and making their brand loyal is equally important in order for a business to grow. Promotional tools and techniques form an integral part of the marketing strategy of a business.
A good marketing strategy consists of information on the target audience which can be used to design marketing campaigns that attract new customers to the business.
It Helps Plan The Nature Of The Services And Products Provided By The Business
Market research is an important part of the marketing strategy that gives key information on the target audience. The marketing strategy also gives information on market trends, competitors in the industry, their strategy, etc. All of this data and information collected can be used to create a new product or make modifications to an existing product to meet the needs and trends of the target audience.
Importance Of Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is an important document that lays the outline upon which important marketing activities are based on.
A lot of time, effort, and money are spent in researching and creating a good marketing plan for a business. Why must a business create a marketing plan when it could just perform individual marketing activities directly without having to waste more time or money? There is a purpose for it.
The following are some of the reasons why a marketing plan is important for the success of a business:
It Helps Form Effective Ways Of Engaging Customers
Marketing is all about people and how businesses form good relationships with their customers. A good marketing plan is one that finds effective ways to engage with its customers. Without a marketing plan that is backed by data collected from market research, advertisements and outreach programs that effectively interact with its customers cannot be created.
Uber Eats is a good example of good customer engagement. Uber Eats uses personalization techniques to tailor its marketing and messaging content that is unique to the user’s location and past behavior. It also uses behavior triggering messages to influence its customers to re-engage in its app.
<aside> 💡 “We see customers as guests to a party and we are hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” — Jeff Bezos
It Helps Maintain The Company’s Reputation
Each company has its own unique brand image or reputation which it has to maintain in order to sustain itself in the market for long. When the company’s reputation is at stake or has gone down the drain, customers do not make an effort to make connections with the company or buy their products or hire their services. This leads to loss of profit and sales, and also leads to loss of the company in the long run.
One of the most important tools that businesses use to make or break their reputation is marketing. Through marketing, businesses can constantly deliver messages to their target audience on who they are, what they do, what product or service they offer, etc. The company’s reputation can be maintained by delivering these messages to the customers in the right way.
The marketing plan has data on their target audience, their likes, dislikes, etc that businesses can use to reach them and telecast their reputation on who they are as a business and how they would deliver this message to their target audiences.
It Helps Minimize Future Uncertainties
A marketing plan is a piece of document that contains all relevant data on the marketing activities performed by the business. It also enlists the feedback for the various marketing ventures on what worked for the business and what did not. It acts as historical data that the business can use to refer to at a later time and see the effectiveness of the marketing activities involved.
This can be used to create future marketing plans and activities that are more reliable since they are based on tried and tested marketing plans and hence reduce the uncertainty of it the future
Build A Relationship Between A Business And Its Customers
A marketing plan is created based on the data collected on the target audience through market research such as their demographics, psychographics, etc. The content that the marketing plan delivers to its customer is designed to resonate with the customer or user persona. This helps to create a better relationship between a business and its customers.
Dove is a personal care brand that focuses on educating and changing people’s perceptions of what beauty is. The ideal target audience of Dove is women who fall in the age range 18 to 35 years old and value natural beauty. They are highly engaged on digital and social media platforms.
To make the relevant to its ideal customers, Dove never uses celebrities to endorse their products in its ads. Instead, Dove uses real people who look like its ideal customer in its ads. This helped Dove form a brand image that encourages beauty in all shapes, sizes, and colors. It also helps reach out and form an emotional connection with its customers. It was possible due to the good marketing plan created by the marketing team Dove.
It Helps In Bringing Better Coordination Between The Various Members Of The Marketing Team
A business must make various marketing decisions on a day-to-day basis. All these decisions are created based on complex interactions between various members who carry out different responsibilities within the marketing team.
Some of the important roles involved in the marketing decision making involve the Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Executive, Marketing Director, Marketing Team Head, Marketing Manager, etc. All these marketing personnel has to take different marketing decisions based on their responsibility and convey them to their subordinates.
They are also responsible for making sure that their subordinates manage to perform the marketing activities efficiently within the given time frame, and convey the results to their superiors, or higher management. Communication flows vertically and sometimes even horizontally.
A lack of a clear marketing plan with specific roles assigned to specific personnel will lead to confusion within the team since the communication will not be clear and the person may not be aware of who they need to report.
Having a detailed marketing plan eliminates any sort of confusion and removes delays in communication, hence bringing about better coordination among the marketing team members at all levels.
<aside> 💡 “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” — Steve Jobs
It Helps In Boosting The Sales Of Products And Sales Offered By The Business
Marketing is the key to boosting sales in any type of business in any industry. Your business can have a good product or service but without good marketing, customers will not come forward to buy your product or service and then know the good quality of your product or service.
A good marketing campaign can be created essentially based on a good marketing plan. Without a good marketing plan, businesses will not be able to create marketing activities that will make use of the resources already available to create new sales.
It Helps Increase The Overall Efficiency Of The Marketing Team
A good marketing plan is aligned to meet the goals and objectives of the business plan. It has policies, programs, and budgets worked out in detail for specific marketing activities and campaigns.
A marketing plan also makes use of the limited resources that it has both within the company and outside to make the best working plan within its budget and minimize wasting time, effort, and money on unimportant activities. This increases the overall efficiency of the marketing team in bringing about the necessary changes.
<aside> 💡 “Productivity and efficiency can be achieved only step by step with sustained hard work, relentless attention to detail, and insistence on the highest standards of quality and performance.“ — J. R. D. Tata
It Helps Improve Consumer Satisfaction
Customers are complicated. No two customers are the same and are hence very difficult to satisfy with just one type of marketing. A marketing plan helps know the details of the target audience such as their age range, gender, sexuality, income level, education, likes and dislikes, hobbies, etc.
This information helps in forming effective marketing, advertising, and content plans that bring about maximum customer satisfaction. It also helps in creating new products and redefining the use of an existing product or services to find solutions for problems faced by the customers.
The marketing plan also has Key Performance Indicators or KPIs which are basically metrics that the business can use to measure the effectiveness of specific activities. The Key Performance Indicators will help the business know whether the marketing activity or campaign used brings about the desired results is not.
<aside> 💡 “Unless you have 100% customer satisfaction, you must improve.” — Horst Schulze, Ritz Carlton
It Helps With the Budget And Operation Of The Firm
The marketing plan is a document created to help the firm market its products and services under a limited budget and resources so as to make better use of the funds available and gain more profits. The marketing plan has a section on SWOT analysis.
SWOT helps to analyze the strengths and weaknesses found within the business and find out the presence of opportunities and threats present in the market.
This helps in creating a realization image of the business and making use of the advantages available in the market to increase sales and profit by creating marketing activities that are well within the budget available to the business at the time of operation.
A good marketing plan contains all the information required to create effective marketing activities that will meet the needs of the business.
To sum it up a good marketing plan is important for the business because of the following reasons:
- It helps to form effective and creative methods to engage with its customers
- It helps maintain the company’s reputation
- It helps form a unique brand identity
- It helps minimize future uncertainties
- It helps form a good relationship between a business and its target customers
- It helps form better coordination between the various members of the marketing team
- It helps in boosting the sales of the product and services provided by the business
- It helps increase the overall efficiency of the marketing team
- It helps bring customer satisfaction