7 Important Content Marketing Statistics for Asian Marketers

online content marketing

Image credit: Pixabay/suomy

 

Asian marketers can improve further the effectiveness of their content marketing campaigns by taking a serious look at these seven selected content marketing statistics compiled by Hubspot:

  1. 50% of businesses in APAC are doing content marketing, but have no strategy

Having no strategy is a common shortcoming of many content marketers not only in Asia but also in other regions of the world.

Without a content marketing strategy, our efforts will likely go to waste.

We will have no objectives to define why we are doing content marketing, no clear audience profile nor buyer persona, no chosen topics that will resonate with our audience, no systematic plan as to how, when, and where to publish content, no way to measure our progress, and no means of determining ROI.

Let us craft even a simple strategy to make our content marketing campaigns deliver at least modest initial results.  We can always learn along the way, iterate, and be more effective as we progress along.

  1. 70% of APAC businesses feel their content marketing efforts are limited, basic, or inconsistent

I have the same dilemma as this 70%.

While acknowledging the fact that content is crucial in today’s marketing success, we feel we are not doing enough as a result of either inadequate knowledge or lack of resources (particularly talent and time), or both.

Whatever we have started seems rudimentary and ineffective.

Compounding the problem are other priorities that keep us from consistently learning and improving on our content marketing.

Notwithstanding, we can always try to improve.  Let us set aside time to really learn and practice good content marketing and to consistently measure our progress as we move along.

  1. 57% of APAC marketers say producing quality content is an obstacle to their success

Not too many started with producing quality content.

According to some widely respected content marketers, they have attained successful status by persistently practicing and spending hundreds of hours creating content that really connect and engage with their audience.

It is never too late for us to start.  After a few hundred hours more of practice, we shall have delivered quality content to our target audience.

  1. 53% of marketers in APAC struggle to produce enough content

I am also struggling with this problem.

I am aware that the more we produce good content, the more we achieve a higher level of credibility resulting in more engagement and following by our audience.

But where in the world will I get topics for my content?  (Some online articles give pretty good suggestions on topic sources.) Or, how can I squeeze content writing into my busy work days?

As part of a content strategy, we can come up with a simple content calendar that includes creating a list of topics (not in one sitting) that can be of interest to our audience, can fill up at least a month’s schedule, and also include a schedule for researching and writing about it.

  1. Only 40% of businesses in Asia are convinced of the value of content marketing & can measure its ROI

This is something that some clients or bosses would really bring up to their consultant or marketing staff.  Some would even ask: “What is content marketing and why would I spend money on it?”. This is a perfectly valid question.

Aside from defining in simple terms what content marketing is, we should come up with an equally easy to understand strategy.

In addition to the marketing objectives, the other important part of our justification is to be able to show the ROI – we spend this much and we increase our sales this much over a certain period of time and generate this much incremental profit – which usually they would easily understand and approve.

  1. 69% of APAC businesses use website traffic to measure content marketing success

The more website traffic the better. More page views, more likes, more shares are good.  But in spite of all these good audience interactions, are we really getting any business?  Are we generating sales?  Are we signing up more subscribers?

Let us face it.  Most, if not all, of us are promoting online to boost our business, to bring in more sales. Is this not the reason why we have convinced our clients or bosses to launch a content marketing campaign?  Without revenue, we have no ROI to show.

Our online marketing efforts should always result, directly or indirectly, in producing a desirable ROI.

  1. 62% of APAC marketers measure their content success using social shares

This is similar to No. 6 above.  Social shares are good.  It is really fantastic if our content becomes viral.  Our product, service, brand, and company get unprecedented attention and eventually build a large following.

Again, we have to leverage these exciting developments to generate revenue and translate these into an appreciable ROI.

Hubspot has other more revealing and interesting statistics about content marketing in Asia Pacific.  I enjoin you to take these into consideration in your effort to become a more effective Asian content marketer.

As often said, a good content is one that is relevant, useful, and can emotionally connect with your target audience.  It is a food for thought that becomes a regular mental staple for your community of online followers who are passionate about the core theme of whatever you are dishing out to them.

Before we can consistently produce and effectively deliver good content, we should have a goal-directed strategy, the discipline to focus on and practice creating good content, and the persistence to progressively deliver an ROI that our clients or bosses would be happy about.

Is Your Business Startup Bound To Fail?

business startup

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The easiest part in starting a business is coming up with a business idea.  Taking your idea from the business concept stage up to business operation stage entails formidable challenges.  A founder’s inability to face up to these business startup challenges will result in costly failure.

Let us take a look at the three most common causes of startup failure:

Lack of understanding of the target market

  • Many startups do not follow a cardinal rule in marketing: know your customers. If you ignore your customers, how would you know their needs, problems, and pain points?
  • Some startups create products or services that nobody needs. Some say you create a need for the product. Some companies have succeeded in doing so and have become mightily famous for their popular products (mostly in the technology field) but this is more of an exception rather than the norm.
  • Others have poorly developed products. They fail to produce a minimum viable product and early users found it to be wanting in features that satisfy even their most basic needs.
  • Some price their products simply out of reach of customers or way above competitive level.
  • While others have ill-timed product launches.
  • Many have failed in marketing their products properly.  Showing products on social media is not enough.

Inadequate funding

  • Not a few startups have an inadequate amount of working capital.  They run out of cash before even reaching a volume of business that can sustain a healthy cash flow.
  • Running out of cash can be attributed to poor cash flow management, lack of operating budget, or simply wrong spending priorities.
  • Others have not properly prepared for securing funding. Some would approach prospective lenders and investors but are not convincing enough due to lack of a viable plan.

Poor business management know-how

  • Not everyone is cut out for running a business. Aside from inadequate knowledge of basic business management, a founder sometimes lacks the focus on the vision for the business, persistence, and willingness to work hard.
  • The startup founder may not be able to do it alone so he/she has to find business talents that can complement his/her knowhow. The founder should be able to assemble the right team of dedicated talents to run the startup business. The inability to mold the right team and/or maintain team harmony is detrimental to a startup.

Startup failures can be attributed to a combination of varying reasons arising either in succession or occurring almost all at the same time. More often than not, the startup founder is easily or eventually overwhelmed by these challenges and he/she consequently throws in the towel and close the business.

While preventing startup failure cannot be guaranteed 100%, it can be mitigated by running your business concept through a thorough and research-based business planning.

The most important aspect of the business plan is the market research and formulation of an appropriate marketing strategy and plan to ensure successful customer acceptance and patronage of the product/service.

It is also critical to prepare a realistic financial study that looks not only into the profitability of the startup but also into its liquidity.

A management study can identify who will be professionally and competently handling the various functions of the business.

A well-written business plan should be able to stand scrutiny and to convince prospective funders – investors or lenders – to finance your startup.

Your business plan will be critically important in reducing risks of startup failure.  But more than a good business plan, the success or failure of the startup largely depends on your character and competence as a founder.

How Effective is Email Marketing in Generating Sales?

email marketing

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Email marketing is still the preferred tool in closing sales or converting a lead into a customer. In fact, more online marketers recognize the critical role of email strategies and campaigns in their overall marketing strategy. The reasons are obvious.

Email campaign is not simply sending emails

An email campaign requires a lot of market data and customer insights.  You should have a good grasp of the following:

  • Demographics – gender, age, income, education, and location of your target clients/audience
  • Psychographics – their tastes, preferences, buying habits, and purchase decision influences
  • Competition – how competitors are trying to communicate and influence your target market
  • Your competitive advantage – how to maximize your competitive advantage to win the attention, interest, and patronage of your target buyers
  • Customer insights and analytics – your customers’ purchase history, online behavior and activities, social network engagements, site visits, page views, previous campaigns’ open rates, click-through rates, and conversions, and other relevant data

You then have to create an email design with images and copy that can get the attention of your target audience.  The overall design should be inviting, compelling, and persuasive. Be sure you have an unsubscribe option.

There should be a powerful and actionable call-to-action.

You have to develop also an effective landing page (a click-through landing page in case of email marketing) to adequately inform and guide your recipient-visitor toward making the much-desired purchasing decision.

Integrate social media into your email campaign by adding sharing buttons to your email.

Your email list should be of good quality. Some recipients’ email addresses change so it reduces the quality of your list.  Update your list and add new addresses. Use social media, blogs, and web content to grow your list. It is a bad idea to buy a third-party list.

Check also your email deliverability.  Does your email reach the inbox of your recipients? Make sure that your list includes only recipients with whom you have previous recent communication (this is why using a third-party list is such a bad idea).

Email marketing platforms are loaded with useful features

Email software packages come with a variety of features that you can use to enhance the reach and effectiveness of your campaigns.  Some of these features are:

  • Flexible designs – different email templates to match your campaign theme
  • Marketing automation – define certain conditions or customer behavior that, when met, can trigger or automatically send emails to designated recipients
  • Apps integration – sync your data from other apps and services you use
  • Tracking tools – tell you who is opening, clicking, and sharing your email
  • Analytics – use these metrics to analyze campaign performance so you can improve on your succeeding campaigns

There are a lot of other functionalities offered by the top email marketing software packages.

Email marketing is here to stay

While not all marketers depend on email marketing to optimize their conversion rate, it will still be the choice of many.  According to Hubspot, 75% of marketers were using more emails than they were three years ago. It will remain the best medium to communicate facts and figures, as well make an emotional connection of your brand, product or service to your target buyers.  It gives them all the information they would need and it can set off an underlying emotional appeal that leads to the coveted buying decision.

Don’t Start That Business Yet

BUSINESS CONCEPT

Not until you have a clear business concept.

What is a business concept?

It is an idea for a business. It can be an idea for an entirely new product or service of a startup business or it can be an improvement or expansion of an existing business.  Whatever your business concept is, it should include fundamental information about the new business.  Without these information, you and others cannot expect to have a clear grasp of what your business is all about.

Fundamental information in your business concept

There are a lot of information that can be included in a business concept and many ways (such as templates) of presenting these.  But the fewer and simpler these are, the better especially for a startup.  What you need are essential information that contribute to the clarity and point to the viability of your new business.

In generating those information, you may consider the following guide topics:

Marketing

  • Needs to be satisfied/Problems to be solved
  • Proposed solution
  • Target customers
  • Current options
  • Unique value offering
  • Market access

Operations

  • Major action steps
  • Vital assets needed
  • Important partners

Finance

  • Sources of revenue
  • Cost and expense items
  • Viability metrics

To make it easier for startup entrepreneurs, I have designed a short form consolidating fundamental information for a business concept.

Under each topic above, I have come up with questions the answers to which will provide you with the essential information.

Aside from these questions, I have given a corresponding weighted percentage to each of these topics.  These percentages gauge the respective importance of the topic to the viability of your business concept.

I call this single-sheet form as the Pre-Startup Business Concept Weighted Clarity Test.  Go ahead – test your business concept.  Rate yourself also on how convinced you are about the truthfulness and clarity of your answers.  The maximum rating for each topic is the percentage indicated.  Download the free test now.

Do you still need a written business plan?

If you are satisfied with the clarity and truthfulness of your answers, you can actually start approaching some potential customers, partners, and investors/funders about your business concept.  Ask for their comments and feedback.  Encourage them to ask questions so you can test how clear and viable your business concept is. You can also ask them for suggestions to improve it.

Now, if you believe you already have a viable business concept on hand, you may proceed with creating a minimum viable product or service offering, establish market/product fit, and develop a repeatable customer acquisition process. You seem to be ready to turn the concept into a business reality.

But wait.

You don’t have the details yet – the facts and figures – about your target market, your product or service, your finances.  You have not outlined yet a detailed plan how you will go about your marketing and sales, production, and operations.  Who will do what, when, and where? You have not come up with milestones to measure your progress and metrics against which to measure your performance.

You must have a written business plan to constantly guide you in your journey – from business concept to business success.  The shorter the business plan the better and it should be dynamic to reflect changes in the business environment and current realities.

With a clear and feasible business concept and a dynamic business plan on hand, go ahead and start that business.

Can Social Media Really Help In Customer Acquisition?

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Image Credit: Pixabay

As almost everyone knows, use of social media in marketing has been growing. Billions are using social media.

Content is key

Social media practitioners all know that content is important.  In fact, it is crucial.

Some may argue that search engine optimization (SEO) is more important. Maybe.

But content with the most relevant keywords is among the good SEO practices.  I know this from actual experience.

Understanding marketing fundamentals

Good content, however, flows out of a thorough understanding of your target market and your market environment.  Knowing these marketing fundamentals is a prerequisite to generating useful information that make for good content:

  • Your target market – their needs, preferences, behavior
  • Your market size, potential, trend, risks and opportunities
  • Your competition
  • Your competitive advantage
  • Your marketing objectives
  • Your marketing strategy and implementation plan

Who is your target market? What is their profile? What are their preferences insofar as the product or service you are offering is concerned and why? How and where are they buying these?  Studies have shown that brands with social media presence are perceived to be more credible and are patronized more.

How about your competition – where and how do they promote their brand? Do they rank higher in search results? If so, what are they doing correctly that you are not aware of?

How do you highlight your competitive advantage. Your target audience should be aware of this so they have a reason to patronize your brand.

What are your marketing objectives?  How do you intend to attain these?  What are the action steps that you have to take?

A thorough understanding of these marketing fundamentals will put you into proper perspective when crafting your social media marketing strategy and campaign.

A solid combination of marketing fundamentals and good content will result in an effective social media campaign.  You facilitate more meaningful audience engagements.  You convert more visitors into high potential leads.  You develop more buying customers.

I say social media remains one of the effective tools in online customer acquisition.

Check out our business services for more options.

Can A Small Business Succeed Without A Marketing Plan?

MARKETING PLAN

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Some entrepreneurs have said that if you have a good product or a fantastic service, you don’t need a marketing plan as the product or service will sell for itself.  Fine. Eventually, they would find out that this is not the case.  All businesses need a marketing plan to ensure that they have studied well their target market and that their product or service will get to be known, used, and patronized by their customers. This is the reason why small business owners should at the onset prepare a good marketing plan.

How does a marketing plan differ from a marketing strategy?

A marketing plan can be simply defined as the tactics and activities a business will implement usually within a period of one year in support of its marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy defines what a business would do to achieve its marketing objectives.  It is the result of a careful analysis and study of its market, customers, competition, internal and external environment, and the business value proposition.

Simply put,  the marketing strategy is what a business wants to do to attain its marketing objectives while the marketing plan outlines how to do it.

A good marketing plan and its correct execution contribute largely to business survival and success. As others may say, a good marketing plan that has been poorly implemented is still a bad one.

Why is the marketing mix important?

Aside from the other essential components, a marketing plan also shows the tactical combination of the different elements of the marketing mix. The marketing mix traditionally includes the product, pricing, promotions, and distribution functions of a business.

The marketing plan tells what product (or service) a company should offer that will satisfy the needs of its target market as determined in its market research including adaptations and variations to suit various customers’ preferences and buying behavior.

The pricing policy directly affects how the business can penetrate its target market and if it will make a profit or not.  Too high a price makes market entry more difficult while too low a price results in possible losses.

Promotions enable a business to create market awareness and stimulate interest in its product/service.  It includes offline and online advertising like paid ads online and on traditional print and broadcast media.  It also covers promotional activities via non-traditional media like OOH ads as well as  point-of-sales promotions, exhibits, events, and ground activation initiatives.

Bringing the product/service to where the customers are involves efficient distribution including logistics management particularly for physical products.  For consumer goods, it may be delivered direct to the customers like purchases via online stores or it may be distributed through trade channels like retail outlets.  Services are rendered directly to customers, or in the case of software or apps are downloaded via the internet.

The elements of the marketing mix are functional areas that a small business should really work at to improve chances of survival and success.

Can a good marketing plan guarantee business success?

Even a good marketing plan cannot guarantee 100% the success of a business.  A marketing plan that clearly shows the following creates a higher success rate:

  1. A thorough analysis and study of the market;
  2. A good product adaptation to the actual needs of the market;
  3. A good knowledge of competition;
  4. A productive and repeatable customer acquisition process;
  5. A skilled and passionate management team.

Of course there are other success factors that you can add.  Timing, connections, luck – maybe.  But lack of a marketing plan, more often than not, will lead to business difficulties or failure.

Some small business owners would need the help of  external marketing practitioner/consultant to craft a good marketing plan.  We can be of help.

What Investors Are Looking For In A Startup

STARTUP INVESTING

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I often come across some would-be entrepreneurs who request that a business plan be prepared with accompanying pitch deck for prospective investors.  Preparing a business plan with this intended purpose can be extraordinarily challenging when a client-proponent had only an idea and a few research notes about the startup.  It will be difficult for them to find investors (outside of family members or close friends) who would be genuinely interested in this startup even though how comprehensive and aesthetically pleasing the business plan is.

Most investors (angels or VCs) have almost common strategies and criteria that they follow when considering a startup for investment.  Some remarkable ones are the following:

1)  Product-Market fit

Essentially the product or service should solve existing problems or relieve pain points for a large number of people or businesses.  The needs to be filled should be real.

Investors would like to see some customers who had tried the solution being developed or offered by the startup.  It is important to have unattached and unbiased prospective clients who had used the product or service and subsequently gave an objective, honest, and impartial feedback whether it has effectively addressed their needs or problems.

The startup should take into serious consideration the various feedback and factor these in redesigning, reformulating, revising, or changing significantly the product or service being offered.  This process should be iterated until such time the startup shall have established a good fit between the product/service and its target market.

2)  Customer acquisition

Once a good fit has been established, the startup can focus its resources on acquiring customers.  Getting the first few satisfied customers (20 to 30) is crucial.  These initial customers can give the startup continuing feedback about the product/service.  Did it actually fill the needs, did it solve their problems, did it deliver the promised benefits? Most important, are the early users willing to continue using the product/service or recommend it to others?

With a favorable feedback from these early users, the startup can firm up its go-to-market strategy and marketing plan.  The marketing initiatives should capitalize on testimonials by the early users and allot the bulk of resources to marketing.  Investors look favorably at a startup which can develop a customer acquisition process that effectively brings in within a reasonable time frame (within one to two years) the number of customers that can generate a recurring revenue at a level that will sustain a profitable operation.

3)  Scalability

There should exist a real possibility for huge growth.  The startup should generate market traction and scale up rapidly without necessarily increasing expenses.  Some investors would like to see sales increasing at least ten times more over the next three years.

4)  Management team

The startup should have a strong and passionate management team.  Members are expected to have experience in business management.  Investors would even welcome a team member or the founder who had been with a failed startup before. Experience is a good teacher and would hold back an entrepreneur from committing the same costly mistakes in business.

5)  Knowledge of competition

The startup should have something different and unique that can protect it from strong competition, or something that cannot be duplicated by competitors.  This something should convince investors that the startup is way above competition.

 

There are other investor-specific criteria but those mentioned above are not only used by many but I also find these more crucial to the success of the startup and in alignment with investors’ interest.  We can prepare the appropriate business plan for presentation to your prospective investors.

 

Social Media Marketing: How Small Businesses Profit From It

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

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Social media marketing uses social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and others to attract attention, create interest, or develop a community of followers for individuals and organizations.  For small businesses, social media marketing has become a cost-effective marketing tool that significantly boost sales and improve profits.

Some benefits from social media marketing

  • Promote products and services
  • Create/Sustain brand awareness and reputation
  • Build organic reach
  • Generate leads
  • Nurture a community of loyal followers
  • Engage potential customers
  • Promote thought leadership

How to use social media marketing effectively

To reap the benefits cited above and more, small businessmen should learn and diligently work on proven practices that render social media marketing an effective marketing tool.

Know your target market well

At the core of social media marketing are the basic elements of marketing – knowing your target market segment, their needs, their demographic profile, their preferences, their buying behavior.

Determine what contents would be valuable to them

Based on what you know about your target clients, think of contents – articles, images, or videos – that would likely get their attention and interest.  These contents must be deemed valuable and useful to your target market so they will read and follow regularly your social media posts.  Do not post pushy sales pitch.

Draw up a content strategy

You have to come up not only with useful and engaging contents but you also have to organize publishing these contents in such a way as to present a logical series of topics that are posted in a regular manner and time in appropriate social media platforms.

Interact with your audience

Readers may like, comment, or share your posts.  You also have to respond to them accordingly and in a timely manner.  Thank them for liking your posts. You also thank them for their comments and answer their questions or clarify some points they raise.

Your social media posts serve also as listening posts where you can monitor, listen, and engage with your readers and followers. You can feel the pulse of your existing and potential clients – get feedback, suggestions, and act on complaints.

Connect with influencers

Some people are considered or reputed to be authorities in your particular industry.  Find out who they are and try connecting with them. Like, share, or comment on their posts.  You can also follow their followers. Getting to know these influencers can eventually lead to establishing links and relationship that will be good for your business.

Use social media together with other online initiatives

For synergistic online presence, use social media together with blogs and website contents.  Social media is commonly and effectively used to drive traffic to your blogs and landing pages.  While you use SEO to improve ranking in organic search, social media posts can direct your readers directly to specific blog contents or web contents about your product or service.

On the other hand, compelling and engaging blog and web page contents can build a wider and more loyal social media following.

Monitor result of social media campaigns

Social media platforms have analytics or data compiled to show you how your posts are doing.  These include views, impressions, likes, reach, followers, and others.  From these data, you can gauge how well your posts are doing especially in terms of audience engagement and response.  You may need to implement some changes in targeting, posting tactics, or content strategy.

Social media is an effective marketing tool

A well planned and clear social media marketing strategy that is properly implemented is a potent tool that will help small businessmen achieve their marketing objectives.

Social media marketing is a long term investment.  It takes time – weeks, months, or even years – before you reap its full benefits.  But persistence and the longer time you spend engaging and developing relationship with your potential clients, the more conversion or sales you generate.

Our company helps businessmen use social media as an effective marketing tool.

 

 

 

Why Write A Business Plan

BUSINESS PLAN

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Entrepreneurs who wrote business plans performed a lot better than many of those who did not. Why?  Putting your business ideas on paper and being able to review and improve it subsequently, a more structured and organized way of starting your business, inviting investors, and securing funding are just a few of the compelling reasons why you have to write one. Well, some successful entrepreneurs did not write business plans but you have a better chance of success if you have one written.

Business feasibility assessment

When you put your business ideas in writing you can go back to it to review your concept and business model, evaluate your options, or assess whether your proposed business will really be feasible.  Doing these from mental notes would be difficult as you will tend to forget important facts or ideas.  Sometimes it will be downright hazy.

A written business plan can be comprehensive, containing all relevant and critical details about your enterprise.  It is your road map to a successful business three to five years from your starting point.  In the market analysis part of it, you have to list down important data gathered from your research about your industry, market, and competition.  You also have to list down your marketing strategies and tactics as well as details of your implementation plan.  You have to show some projections of your sales, expenses, and expected profit under different business scenarios.

Related article:  WHAT YOU HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS PLANS

Inviting investors

One of the more important reasons why you have to write a business plan is the need to present one to potential investors or sometimes strategic partners.  More than the projected sales and profit, prospective investors would be keen on knowing how well you have studied your target market, how potential customers would accept your product or service, and what sort of management team you will organize.  Some investors or partners would like to see also a statement of your business philosophy and corporate mission.

Securing funding

You may have secured commitment already from investors but you may need additional funding through banks and financing institutions.  You need to prove to them in writing that your business is feasible and it can actually generate revenues and cash flow that can assure them that you can pay back your loans.

Future reviews

After you shall have started and operated your business, you will periodically review its performance.  Have you successfully followed and implemented the business model you had conceived earlier?  Have you explored fully the potential of the market you had studied?  Are your customers buying your product or service?  Are sales and expenses as per your financial projections?  If not, you can always go back to your business plan, which is your blueprint in building your business, and see what adjustments are needed.  For one, the marketing strategy and sales plan will require periodic review and re-alignment with the current realities of the market.

Who should write your business plan

You should write your business plan – ideally.  But if you cannot do so for some reasons like not knowing how to prepare it, or not having time to do it, or simply not having the  knack for putting down things in writing, then have a professional with a demonstrable experience in writing a business plan and, more importantly, a significant experience and starting and running a business do it for you.  These professionals may cost a little bit more than ordinary business plan writers or a software but it is your business’ roll-out success which is at stake here.

Whoever writes your business plan, you should be the one providing the essential facts and figures, offering unique insights, and doing all the actions behind the business plan.

A business plan cannot guarantee success of your business.  But it can lessen your chances of failure.

Our company has the experience and expertise in writing business plans.  We certainly welcome your inquiries on how we can help you.

Marketing Plan: Key To Success For Small Businesses

MARKETING PLAN

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You depend on your small business for a living.  So you want it to make a profit.  To earn profit, you should sell your product or service.  This means you should have a customer, a market.  You must convince your target market that you are the better choice than your competitors.  This entails crafting appropriate strategies aimed at generating sales and/or getting a respectable market share.  You have to execute these strategies through tactics or action plans.  You need a marketing plan.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a written outline of your marketing activities that span a period of at least one year.  It essentially shows what your marketing objectives are, what strategies you will employ to attain those objectives, how you will use the elements of the marketing mix – product, price, distribution, promotions – to implement your strategies through action-laden tactics. Your marketing plan includes also the detailed implementation plan, a contingency plan, and the conclusion.

Why is it important?

The marketing plan embodies in writing what you have thought about, brainstormed, planned, and agreed to do regarding your marketing activities. It is the blueprint you constantly refer to while building your business through systematic marketing efforts. If you have people working for you, it serves as their central reference as you generate sales and gain market share. As the business owner, it encapsulates your idea on how you will successfully tap your market amidst tough competition and external threats using whatever inherent strengths you have and taking advantage of existing opportunities.

How do you prepare a marketing plan?

Marketing plans come in different lengths and contents.  Basically, it should have the following:

  • Executive summary – an overview of the whole marketing plan; briefly highlighting key elements, findings, and recommendations; usually prepared last
  • Introduction – brief summary of market research findings and analyses regarding the target market, consumer profiles, competition, internal and external environment
  • Marketing objectives – SMART objectives you want to attain such as total sales revenue, unit sales, market coverage, market share
  • Marketing strategy – this is the foundation of your marketing plan as it outlines the details as to how you will attain your objectives using strategies and tactics for each of the marketing mix element
  • Implementation plan – timeline showing the sequence of specific activities, tasks, responsibilities, and deliverable based on the various strategies and tactics
  • Contingency plan – the “what if’s” portion, what you intend to do in case of potential threats from competitors or uncontrollable external events
  • Conclusion – strengthen your stand about the plan implementation
  • Appendix – various data and numerical presentations used in the plan

You can always customize your marketing plan depending on your product or service, the type of business you are in, your marketing objectives and strategies, and your purpose.

For the success of your small business, create a written marketing plan, execute the planned activities, and measure and review results.  Revise some portions if necessary and keep it attuned to your market and business.

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