It may sound obvious, but the first step to developing a marketing plan is to know what business you're in. How you decide that can have a big impact on the size of the market you compete in, and the intensity of competition you face. You can define your core business very broadly, or very narrowly. Let's imagine you're a manufacturer of high quality men's wallets. And you sell a variety of thin leather wallets in many countries worldwide.
Now, you could define your core business narrowly, just thin leather wallets, for example. Or you could broaden the scope just a bit, and say your core business is wallets in general. In that case, you would make wallets of any size, shape, and material. If you kicked it up another notch, your core business could be defined as products that carry things. Defining this way would change your perspective a lot. Now you might expand into things like purses, backpacks, luggage, and so on.
Or, you could define your entire core business around a primary benefit. For example, we're in the core business of making things that are slim. In this very broad case, that would completely change your strategic perspective. You would consider offering a wide variety of products that all have this unique benefit of slim. Slim wallets, slim purses, slim clothes, slim anything. Notice that with each change in the core business definition, the size of the business opportunity gets bigger.
That might sound like the way to go. The bigger the better right? Not necessarily. With each increasing level of opportunity comes more challenge. You have more competition to consider. But perhaps even more important, is that you have to be good at so many other things. You have to decide whether it's better to focus on the things that you do really well, and deliver that consistently to your customers. Or, you may want to expand as broadly as you can, and try to grow the business.
My advice is to define your core business just up to the point where you can still leverage your core skills, or what are called core competencies. If you try to do things that you're not skilled at doing, you'll run into trouble.
You'll also learn to address tactical challenges and present the plan to get buy-in throughout an organization, from the C-suite to the sales team, as well as use the marketing plan to guide outside agencies and vendors. Finally, you'll learn how to launch the campaign and measure its performance.
- Define marketing in an organization.
- Explain the planning process.
- Determine the scope of a marketing plan.
- Research competition and analyze products.
- Describe how to segment and target customers.
- Explain the 4Ps model.
- Understand and design distribution channels.
- Measure Key Performance Indicators.