Top components to develop a marketing plan to advertise your products and services to your target audience.

A company’s ability to profit from the sale of its products and/or services greatly depends upon its marketing efforts. They must master not only how to spread the word about their brand, but to present their offerings in a way that appeals to and/or meets a customer’s needs and interests. Marketing is a complex concept that requires continual research, tracking, and adjusting. That’s why it is essential for businesses and marketers to first develop a plan.

A marketing plan is a step by step guide on how you will advertise your products and services to your target audience. Though it does not have to be lengthy, it does require a lot of research. When complete, a marketing plan should help your business to have a clear understanding of the market, target customers, and the competition which aids brands in developing effective marketing strategies. Continue reading for a more detailed account of the key elements of a successful marketing plan:

Business Goals

Your marketing plan needs to tie directly into your company goals. Therefore, an effective marketing plan should include company goals. What is it you’re trying to accomplish right now? Are you interested in increasing sales revenue, building more loyal customers, introducing your product or service, finding new donors for your non-profit, boosting subscriptions, etc?

After outlining your general business goals, you need to break these down to more specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related (SMART). For instance, increasing sales is a broad goal. A SMART goal as it pertains to sales might be increasing your sales by 10% each quarter for the next year.

Market Research

To successfully compete in your industry you must conduct extensive market research. Your marketing plan should clearly outline details about the market presently purchasing your products and/or services. Within your research efforts, be sure to include components like:

  • Market Dynamics – These are the various influences that can affect prices including supply, demand, and how both consumers and suppliers react to price and demand fluctuations. You need to find answers to questions like: Is there a great demand for your product and/or service right now? What’s the average price?
  • Target Customer – To effectively market and service a customer, businesses must have a clear understanding of who their customers are. With resources like a CDP platform, website analytics, social media, consumer surveys, and more, marketers are able to collect and analyze personal, descriptive, quantitative, and qualitative data that further define their target audience.
  • Product Information – Market research should also extend to the product or service you’re selling. What types of products and services (similar to your own) are already out there? Who is buying them? Who else is selling them? More importantly, how does your product and/or service differ from the competition?

The Competition

Your marketing plan should also include information on your competition. In your findings, the plan should outline answers to questions including: What types of marketing efforts are they using? How effective have they proven to be? What makes you stand out from the competition?

Marketing Strategies

Based on the information you’ve collected, you should be able to determine which marketing strategies will be most effective for your brand. There are tons of marketing strategies available ranging from blog posts and email marketing to social media and networking events. Therefore, you’ll need to utilize the above-collected information to determine which mediums are most successful in your industry and which methods your target audience would best gravitate to.


Your marketing plan should also include a budget. Based on the marketing strategies you’re considering, which ones can you afford? You can do some online research to get a ballpark number. An efficient marketing budget should also include salaries, outsourcing costs, offline and online marketing strategies, printing, shipping, online expenses, and software. As with any budget, add a bit of a financial cushion just in case.

Whether your goal is to boost brand awareness, increase sales, or simply introduce your products and/or services, you need an efficient marketing plan for proper execution. Though it does require a significant amount of research, it essentially creates a roadmap to success. As when you have a full understanding of your market, target audience, your products, and the competition, you are in a better position to successfully stand out from the competition while reaching more of your ideal consumers.

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