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What Is a Marketing Plan?

The marketing plan details the strategy that a company will use to market its products to customers. The plan identifies the target market, the value proposition of the brand or the product, the campaigns to be initiated, and the metrics to be used to assess the effectiveness of marketing initiatives.

Here are the essential components of a marketing plan:

  1. Market research
  2. Target Market
  3. Positioning
  4. Competitive analysis
  5. marketing strategy
  6. Budget
  7. Metrics

1. Market Research:

Market research is an effective tool to assist your business planning. It is about collecting information that provides an insight into your customer’s thinking, buying patterns, and location. In addition, market research can also assist you to monitor market trends and keep an eye on what your competition is doing.

Why do market research?

Market research allows you to understand your buyer’s problems, pain points, and desired solutions.

Types of Market Research

1. Interviews

2. Focus Groups

3. Product/ Service Use Research

4. Observation-Based Research

5. Buyer Persona Research

6. Market Segmentation Research

7. Pricing Research

8. Competitive Analysis Research

9. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Research

10. Brand Awareness Research

11. Campaign Research

How to Do Market Research:

1. Define your buyer persona.

2. Identify a persona group to engage.

3. Prepare research questions for your market research participants.

4. List your primary competitors.

5. Summarize your findings.

1. Define your buyer persona:

Before you dive into how customers in your industry make buying decisions, you must first understand who they are.

This is where your buyer personas come in handy. Buyer personas — sometimes referred to as marketing personas — are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers.

 Some key characteristics you should be keen on including in your buyer persona are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • job title
  • Family size
  • Income
  • Major challenges

The idea is to use your persona as a guideline for how to effectively reach and learn about the real audience members in your industry. Also, you may find that your business lends itself to more than one persona — that’s fine! You just need to be thoughtful about each specific persona when you’re optimizing and planning your content and campaigns.

2. Identify a persona group to engage:

Now that you know who your buyer personas are, use that information to help you identify a group to engage to conduct your market research with this should be a representative sample of your target customers so you can better understand their actual characteristics, challenges, and buying habits.

How to Identify the Right People to Engage for Market Research:
1. Select people who have recently interacted with you.
2. Gather a mix of participants.

 Here are some more details on how to select this mix of participants:

  • Pull a list of customers who made a recent purchase. 
  • Pull a list of customers who were in an active evaluation, but didn’t make a purchase. You should get a mix of buyers who either purchased from a competitor or decided not to make a purchase.
  • Call for participants on social media. Try reaching out to the folks that follow you on social media, but decided not to buy from you. There’s a chance that some of them will be willing to talk to you and tell you why they ultimately decided not to buy your product.
  • Leverage your own network. Get the word out to your coworkers, former colleagues, and LinkedIn connections that you’re conducting a study. Even if your direct connections don’t qualify, some of them will likely have a coworker, friend, or family member who does.
  • Choose an incentive. Time is precious, so you’ll need to think about how you will motivate someone to spend 30-45 minutes on you and your study. On a tight budget? You can reward participants for free by giving them exclusive access to content. Another option? Send a simple handwritten ‘thank you note once the study is complete. 

3.. Prepare research questions for your market research participants:

The best way to make sure you get the most out of your conversations is to be prepared. You should always create a discussion guide — whether it’s for a focus group, online survey, or phone interview — to make sure you cover all of the top-of-mind questions and use your time wisely.

4. List your primary competitors

5. Summarize your findings.

2. Target Market:

A target market is a group of people with some shared characteristics that a company has identified as potential customers for its products.

A target market may be broadly categorized by age range, location, income, and lifestyle. Many other demographics may be considered. Their stage of life, their hobbies, interests, and careers, all may be considered.

3. Positioning

Positioning is a marketing concept that outlines what a business should do to market its product or service to its customers. In positioning, the marketing department creates an image for the product based on its intended audience. This is created through the use of promotion, price, place, and product.

How to Create an Effective Market Positioning Strategy?

1. Determine company uniqueness by comparing to competitors

2. Identify the current market position

3. Competitor positioning analysis

4. Develop a positioning strategy

4. What’s a Competitive Analysis & How Do You Conduct One?

Competitive analysis can help you learn the ins and outs of how your competition works, and identify potential opportunities where you can out-perform them.

It also enables you to stay atop of industry trends and ensure your product is consistently meeting — and exceeding — industry standards.

By performing a competitor analysis, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify gaps in the market
  • Develop new products and services
  • Uncover market trends
  • Market and sell more effectively

How to do a Competitive Analysis?

1. Determine who your competitors are.

2. Determine what products your competitors offer.

3. Research your competitor’s sales tactics and results.

4. Take a look at your competitors’ pricing, as well as any perks they offer. 5. Ensure you’re meeting competitive shipping costs.

6. Analyze how your competitors market their products.

7. Take note of your competition’s content strategy.

8. Learn what technology stack your competitors’ use.

9. Analyze the level of engagement on your competitor’s content.

10. Observe how they promote marketing content.

11. Look at their social media presence, strategies, and go-to platforms.

12. Perform a SWOT Analysis to learn their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

5. Develop a marketing strategy

Your marketing strategy affects the way you run your business, so it should be planned and developed in consultation with your team. It is a wide-reaching and comprehensive strategic planning tool that:

  • describes your business and its products and services
  • explains the position and role of your products and services in the market
  • profiles your customers and your competition
  • identifies the marketing tactics you will use
  • allows you to build a marketing plan (the tactics to deliver) and measure its effectiveness.

6. What is a marketing budget?

A marketing budget documents how much your business plans to spend on marketing over a specific period, like a year, quarter, or month. When budgeting for marketing, consider all costs associated with marketing your business, such as paid ads, hiring costs, marketing tools, website maintenance expenses, and more.

Why do you need a marketing budget for your business?

  • It helps you stay on track financially
  • It helps you allocate funds into the right places
  • It helps you set benchmarks and goals
  • It helps you plan long-term
  • It’s an investment in your business’s growth

7. What are marketing metrics?

Marketing metrics are what marketers use to monitor, record, and measure progress over time. The metrics themselves are varied and can change from platform to platform. Marketers need to hone in on their goals and choose the metrics that will track their successes and failures. Although there are many working metrics you could keep track of, you need to hone in on what actually matters for each campaign.

there are the 7 essential components of a marketing plan, if you want to know how to market your business, don’t hesitate to read our article