How to Develop a Marketing Plan that Wins Heart & Mind of Your Customer

For years, marketers have misinterpreted the game. They seriously believed that the only way to keep the cash account in the bank ringing was to convince customers using the sheer power of objective logic, spiky graphs, and jaw-dropping numbers. Thus, the marketing plan they constructed was dry and lacked vitality. It was devoid of any juice.

The time has changed and so has the rules. Now, the goal is to drive your customers crazy.  Make them fall in love, so the marketing plan that we need to attain this kind of job has to be different. In this article, I will tell you how to develop a marketing plan that will move your customers.

Old elements of marketing plan may work for you, but they need to be trimmed, twisted, and repackaged to make them effective with the new customers who are more perceptive, sophisticated, street-smart, and connected than the customers of yesteryear when the idea of creating a marketing plan as developed. There are things that you need to keep in mind while developing a marketing plan for the new-age customers, which I am going to present here, but before that let me put down the elements of marketing plan.

Elements of marketing plan

A marketing plan consists of activities (actions) that an organization needs to undertake in order to achieve marketing goal. The process begins with deciding the target market (primary as well as secondary) and goes until the return on Investment (ROI) is figured out. The marketing plan includes:

Product and Services Description

  • What product or services you have to offer?
  • Features and benefits of the product.
  • What makes the product different from others?
  • Why the customer will buy your product?
  • How many people need the product (data from demand analysis)?
  • What is the price of your product or service?

Target Market Description

  • Who is going to buy the product or the service
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Education level
  • Profession
  • Income level
  • Area she lives
  • Occasion of use
  • Mental makeup
  • Behavioral
  • What she does?
  • Where she hangs out?

Competition analysis

  • With whom will you be competing directly, and who are your indirect competitors?
  • How many players are there in the market?
  • Who have taken the number one and two slots?
  • What strategy do they have and how successful they are in implementing it?
  • Strength and weakness of competitors?
  • How similar or different your product is from your competitors?
  • At what price points are the competitors offering their products?

Marketing Budget

  • How much are you planning to spend in a year?
  • Will you evenly distribute the budget across the months or quarters, or there will be any impact of seasonality on the budget?
  • How much money will be allocated for each marketing activities (promotion, distribution, etc.)?

Goals

  • Marketing Goal: What attitude or behavioral change do you expect to bring?
  • Sales Goal: How many units of your product or services you want to sell in one year? Divide the yearly sales goal in manageable units (half-yearly, quarterly, and monthly goals).
  • Profit Goal: How much money you want to make in profit at the end of the fiscal year? Divide your yearly profit target into half-yearly and quarterly goals. How many units do you need to sell to register profit?

Marketing Strategy to reach goals

  • What route will you take to achieve your goal?
  • What message will you communicate to your customers?
  • Which marketing tools will you use to communicate the message?
  • Which communication vehicle will be used?
  • How well you know your customer?
  • Do you know where they spend their time? Doing what?

Review

  • Monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and annual reviews should be done to find out how close did you go to the goal set for the month?
  • Which tool was more effective?
  • What is ROI for the year?
  • Can you increase the ROI by making small adjustment in the marketing plan? Or are you getting the optimal return on the dollar spent?

Focus elements in the marketing plan

You need to don the customer’s shoes and think from her perspective and fee what she is feeling, if you are to make her come close to you. I know stepping into the customer’s shoes is not easy, it even bites, but once the positive results starts coming, you will like it here.

Each element of the marketing plan is important, but some of them are more important than others, in terms of consumer focus. It is on those elements that you should focus on, if you want to win the heart and the mind of your customers:

  • How does the product you are selling will solve the problem customer is into? Which void will it fill?
  • Why do you think the price you are offering will suit your customer?
  • More than anything focus on the lifestyle, psychological makeup, and behavioral attributes when creating a target customer profile.
  • Figure out ways to engage your customers. While researching the competition, keep a close eye on how the competitors are engaging your target audience. Try to find a need gap and fill the void, or you can also try to meet the same need but to a higher degree. Augment the engagement.
  • Find out the places where your target audience goes to, and make your brand greet them there, unobtrusively.
  • Instead of adopting top-down approach of communication (Read advertising and public relation), use bottom-up engagement tools like Facebook, twitter, etc.

You have to be a part of the tribe or tribes that your customers belong to. You cannot stand with a big loudspeaker in a stranded corner, and expect them to come near you and listen. They will not. Do not attempt to pull them closer, go near them, and which is only possible, if you are focusing all your marketing effort in the direction suggested above.

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