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Objective planning

In the second instalment in his series on small business marketing Noel Dyson looks at how to put a marketing plan together.

CREATING a marketing plan is no different to any other part of business planning – it comes down to getting the right information about the environment the company is working in, deciding what the business’s objectives are then creating a plan to help it achieve them.

In the marketing sense this means planning how the company will allocate resources to what most marketers refer to as the four Ps – product, price, placement and promotion.

The plan needs to run for a set period of time – usually one year. Through that period, and at the end of it, the results of the plan need to be evaluated.

While the resources available for a marketing campaign differ greatly for small businesses and large companies, the process of creating a marketing plan is the same.

Edith Cowan University marketing lecturer KY Lee said many consultants had over-complicated marketing planning.

“Most marketing plans have three basic components,” he said.

“The first part is doing a situation analysis. That means getting a good picture of what is happening in the business and the environment around it.

“Then you plan for the next 12 months, working out how you will use your products and their price, promotion and placement to meet your company’s goals.

“Then you work out how you are going to implement that plan,” he said.

Mr Lee said it was crucial that businesses reviewed how the implementation of their marketing plan had gone.

Magenta director and WA Business News 40under40 winner Melissa Lekias said research was the key to creating a good marketing plan.

“Whether it’s a small or large business the information is fundamental to creating a good plan,” she said.

“Once you have the information you can start creating the strategies that will help you deal with what you found through your research.

“You need to find out what the market wants and find ways to meet it.”

brainCells Creative Marketing CEO Allen Burtenshaw said it was important to include key performance indicators in any marketing plan.

“After a six-month period you can go back and see what the company’s objectives were, what the KPIs were and how well the plan has gone towards meeting both,” he said.

“We recommend holding a three-month workshop and a six-month workshop to see how the marketing program went.”

Market Equity CEO Brent Stewart said there was essentially no difference between the marketing plan of a small business and large business other than scale.

“I do think that scale issue, from a research point of view, does govern what you can do,” he said. “It may stop a small business from undertaking a major market segmentation but you can still get good intelligence from secondary sources or other means.”

Mr Burtenshaw said that, nine times out of 10, small business clients came to him believing that some catchy advertisements would be the answer to their problems.

“There are better ways the client can spend their money,” he said.

p Next week: How to create an image.

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