The nuts and bolts of a marketing plan!

Nancy Anderson
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Primarily an effective marketing plan is a “call to action” with an objective of motivating the reader to visit your place of business! Of course, using the correct media that will reach the targeted market is a precursor to the success of the plan itself!

First and foremost, there is not a “boiler plate” or template for a marketing plan that is correct for your individual business! The marketing plan must be personalized to reflect the core image of your business and must do it in plain understandable language. A vital component of a good comprehensive marketing plan is one that facilitates a vehicle for gleaning customer opinion. Also the plan must encourage dissatisfied customers to make contact for quick resolution of their problem! Always keep in the top of your mind that a dissatisfied client will convey their dissatisfaction to 15 to 20 friends and family and unfortunately an extremely satisfied client will only tell 3 to 5 people of their satisfaction!

There are several essential elements of a marketing plan that will drive more customers to your business as well as encourage retention of your current loyal customers!

1.Markets change, so must your plan. It must be reviewed constantly and changed as needed to be effective. All elements of the plan must be upheld and practiced consistently. The line item on your budget must provide the necessary finances needed to execute the marketing plan!

2.A rudiment of any good marketing plan is to identify (supported with field research) the market segment that you need to address. I am referring to not only demographics and the socio-economic levels, but the product and price lines needed to make sure you are competing for the right customer with the right product at the right price. The old axiom of “you can't be everything to everybody and succeed” most certainly applies to this aspect of your plan!

3.Your media messages, verbal, written and broadcast must proclaim what your business is and what it can do for the customer! Tag lines that are memorable and worth recalling should be contained in every single communication! Your message must be one that makes your business unique in your genre' and separates you from the competitors and makes the business not only different but special!

4.Excite your targeted customers! Somehow you must motivate them to visit your business now! Possibly a new and exciting product, a clearance sale, an event or a major change in your business can accomplish the “call to action!” Your staff cannot make the sale happen unless traffic is driven to your business!

5.Marketing vehicles are much broader than advertising media! Where does you target market go for leisure activities? Where do they shop to fill their day to day needs? The more you know about your target market through appropriate research, the more expansive your vehicles may be. Co-operative advertising opportunities with other businesses, value added products that entice your targeted customers, coupons included with purchased made at other stores shopped by your target customers, tent cards at their restaurants etc. There are too many opportunities to mention in this article!

6.Repetition of message is the only way to leave impressions with the busy and time pressed customers in our world. We must insure that whatever marketing is used makes multiple impressions and of course is redundant in the message conveyed! It has been proven that, eventually. curiosity will draw an interested potential customer to your store if the receive enough messages!

If lack of sales gives an owner the inclination to cut expenses, generally, marketing is one of the first expenses to feel the knife of the cut! However, you need to think twice about lowering marketing expenses due to “tough times.” Remember less marketing may mean less customers and with less customers, your revenue is bound to decline even greater! Consider a change to your approach as opposed to cutting back on what you are doing and spending!

Randy Snyder is a consistent contributor to Salesheads. His 35 years of experience in all aspects of specialty retail is reflected in his articles written for this website. He loves feedback and can be reached at (p) 828 625 4932 or e mail at


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