Factors Influencing your Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is one of the most important documents all businesses should have, it’s a bit like doing a business plan. It outlines and explains the overall business and marketing goals as well as the structure of your marketing strategy. Furthermore, it explains the process of how your business will go about achieving these goals.
Your marketing plan outlines and identifies your target market, your industry, the best ways to market to these prospects etc. This gives you crucial knowledge and structure which helps you get the most out of your resources and minimise any waste. It looks at both your short term and long term goals and will help you adjust and react to any changes.
As there are so many marketing options available to businesses nowadays, having a set plan in place ensures there is no confusion. It should be flexible to accommodate changes in the market and new options becoming available. In other words, it needs to be responsive.
In this post, we will go into marketing plans further and explain the different factors that may affect them. There are multiple internal and external factors that can influence a marketing plan. Therefore, it is essential that you keep on top of any changes and adjust your plans accordingly. This will ensure your marketing is always responsive and any resources are not wasted.
This is one of the largest external influences for businesses and their marketing activities. Regardless of the market you operate in you will undoubtedly have competitors. These businesses are aiming to win the same prospects as yourselves and market their products to try to achieve this. Keep track of how they are marketing their products/services, the language they use, the design etc.
This will give you crucial insight into how your business can stand out and what marketing methods will be more effective to undertake. You can then adjust your marketing plan if need be, so that your marketing can be more effective. If your competitors are performing at higher rates than you, they will be winning business from you and you suffer as a result.
Prospects and Their Preferences
Your customers are the people/companies that inject capital into your business. Therefore, it is essential that they know who you are, what you sell and how they can purchase it. However, preferences change over time. This is for both the products we want to buy and how we want to receive our marketing. In recent years, digital marketing medias such as social media have grown at unprecedented rates. Companies have altered their strategies to include these newer popular mediums.
Therefore, ensure that your business is receptive to changes in your customer’s preferences. This will mean you market using more effective platforms that will result in more interaction and therefore, a higher Return on Investment.
The economy is a major influence on business activities, both positively and negatively. When the economy is growing, people are spending more money and businesses are able to invest more back into the company. In these instances, it is important to increase your marketing. When the economy is growing, your competitors will be as well. People are spending more money so it presents a great opportunity for your business.
On the other hand, during times of recession and economic uncertainty, people tend to hold back and save more where possible. This happens for both consumers and businesses. However, it is essential that you still undertake marketing during these times. To not market means that people will not be aware of your products. You need money coming into the business and marketing is an essential part of this process.
Data is a highly valuable marketing tool. Depending on who you are aiming to target, there may be a marketing data list available. This list will contain businesses/consumers that are ideal customers for your business. You are able to plan a campaign that will be highly targeted and go specifically to these people. Depending on the list in question and the available contact methods, you may find that you are able to undertake marketing through mediums previously unavailable to you. This allows you to change your marketing plan to accommodate for these increased marketing options.
You will find that high quality data performs at very high rates, leading to more successful marketing campaigns. If you have not used data before, consider bringing it on board as we have seen the benefits it brings our clients first hand.
What is your business aiming to achieve? Are you trying to increase brand awareness? Or perhaps you want to increase your sales by 15% in the next 2 years? Whatever it is you are trying to achieve, you need to structure your marketing plan to help you accomplish this. Bear in mind that depending on the goal, the solutions will vary. This will determine the types of marketing you undertake, when your market, who you market to, how you structure the marketing etc.
As business objectives will change, the marketing plan will also need to change in line with this. Keep it fluid and adaptive to change in order for your business to see the highest returns possible. This will also help you keep on top of external developments like those listed above. If trends and preferences change among your target market, your business needs to adapt to meet these changes or they will not purchase from you.
Unfortunately, new laws and regulations are a common thing. They affect what a business is able to do and more specifically in this context, how they are able to market. A specific example is GDPR. This brings into UK law a number of new rules concerning personal data and how businesses need to manage it. This will change the way that a lot of businesses market to their prospects. The good news is that the PPI calls should be a thing of the past! New legislation such as GDPR drastically effects marketing and so companies have changed their overall marketing plan to ensure they remain compliant. You may have noticed emails coming in from certain companies asking you to opt-in to continue receiving updates for example.
Your staff play a crucial role in your marketing activities. They are the people who design, undertake and monitor your marketing plan. If you are a very small business or you do not have a dedicated marketing team, it will be easier to outsource to a specialist marketing company. The skill set of the staff on your campaigns greatly impact its effectiveness. If you need to outsource, you will need to cater your plan and budgets to allocate for this. However, a well-trained, highly skilled marketing team will lead to more memorable, high impact marketing campaigns that deliver a greater ROI.
Budget, the dreaded word itself. Unfortunately, finance plays a critical role in almost everything. Marketing services are no different. Depending on what your business has available, your marketing plan must be written to accommodate this. There is no sense writing a plan for a UK wide marketing strategy, encompassing multiple marketing methods and data when you only have £500 available for example. Fortunately, specialist marketing companies are able to tailor bespoke packages around your specific budget. This will help get the most returns possible for whatever your budget is.
Once you know your budget, you can realistically research into the most effective marketing methods available for that price range.
Your marketing plan is an essential document for your business. Above we list a number of different factors, both internal and external that can affect it. However, there are multiple more that we have not listed. Different businesses and industries all face a variety of challenges.
It is crucial that you regularly review your marketing plan and update it. This will ensure your marketing is always relevant, appropriate and engaging for prospects.
Impact Marketing are marketing specialists. We understand how to design a marketing campaign specifically for you. If you would like more information about our marketing services and what we can do for you, get in touch today and a member of the team will be happy to advise further.