If you are the founder of a new startup or an existing business it’s highly recommended that you develop a roadman that will get you from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow, six months from now, or a year or longer down the road. The roadman is a guide to help you overcome roadblocks, prevent costly mistakes and eliminate time-consuming detours that can prevent you from attaining your goals, and reaching your ultimate destination.
We typically refer to this roadman as a marketing plan. A marketing plan should be a formal written document, not recalled from memory or something scribbled on a napkin. To take your business to the next level requires preparing a written marketing action plan. There are 12 recognized marketing planning models in use today. The Top 5 most popular marketing planning models include: * 7 Up’s Marketing Matrix – The seven elements of the marketing mix: Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Process and Physical evidence, form the core tactical components (see below) of the marketing plan. Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning – This three stage process involves analysis which distinct customer groups exist and which segment the product best suits before implementing the communications strategy tailored for the chosen * COSTA@ – This acronym stands for Situation, Objectives, Strategy, target group. Tactics, Actions and Control and is a very popular classic marketing planning framework for creating marketing plans. COSTA is more comprehensive and borrows elements of several of the other popular marketing planning models.
Nations Growth Strategy Matrix – Nations Growth Strategy Matrix identifies alternative growth strategies by looking at present and potential products in current and future markets. The four growth strategies include: market penetration, market development, product development and diversification. * Porter’s Five Forces – In a blob post dated November 21, 2011, I covered Michael E. Porter’s Five Forces marketing planning model. The Five Forces are Rivalry, Supplier Power, Threat of Substitutes, Buyer Power and Barriers to Entry and are used to analyses the industry context in which the organization operates.
Porter’s Five Forces are required reading in any graduate course on Marketing or Strategic Planning. For my money, the COSTA@ marketing planning model is the model I use the most when developing marketing plans. First, let’s begin by defining what COSTA is: What SOSTAC@? COSTA@ is a marketing planning model, originally developed in the sass to help with marketing planning by PR Smith, who together with Dave Chaffed co-authored Marketing Excellence. COSTA@ stands for: * Situation – where are we now? Objectives – where do we want to be? * Strategy – how do we get there? * Tactics – how exactly do we get there? Marketing Plan By ongoing * Control – did we get there? COSTA has been used to develop marketing plans for a broad range of industries. Here’s how COSTA is used to summaries the main issues to consider within a digital marketing strategy: You can see it gives a logical order for tackling your plan (with iterations) and a great way to summaries the main elements of each. Why is COSTA@ useful?
COSTA@ has become very popular since it’s simple, easy to remember and covers all the main issues which you need in a marketing plan or business plan. Tips for using COSTA@ Here are some tips on how to use COSTA@ based on Chaff’s experience applying the model in companies and in academia. 1. Use COSTA@ to review your process – Before looking at how you apply COSTA@ at each step to create a marketing plan, use it to review your planning process and how you manage your marketing. Ask yourself what you and your organization are good at.
Maybe you spend too much or too little time reviewing the situation. Perhaps you’re not so good at setting SMART objectives, or developing strategies to support them or the control stage of assessing how effective your strategies and tactics are and adjusting them? 2. Get the balance right across COSTA@ – Oftentimes, there is too much time spent on analysis within a plan and not enough on setting the strategies. So as a rule of thumb, this is how your balance of content could look: Situation Analysis (20%), Objectives (5%), Strategy (45%) and Tactics (30%) = 100% 3.
Summaries your Situation in a SOOT Analysis – To give focus to your situation analysis it is recommended that you utilize this form of SOOT analysis. This helps integrate SOOT with strategy. I also recommend that you read my blob post dated November 29, 2011 on how to prepare a SOOT analysis to plan for the future of your company. 4. Make your goals SMART and link them to your analytics/control process – Since digital marketing is so measurable, it makes sense to be specific as possible about your goals by developing a funnel conversion model.
You should also setup specific goals in Google Analytics. But it’s worth thinking about the full range of goals indicated by the ass. 5. Integrate the different elements of your SOOT Analysis – Oftentimes in a plan or report there isn’t good flow relating sections. To help this I recommend summarizing your entire COSTA@ plan within a table. It’s important to note that a marketing plan can be for a product (the phone), a series of similar products (e. G. Mobile devices) or an all-encompassing plan for a company.
General Rules For Creating A Killer Marketing Plan There is no shortage of general rules for developing marketing plans, but if you want o create a killer marketing plan I have found that the following general rules work the best: * Stay focused – Don’t try to “boil the ocean” by going overboard or overstate the case with too many ideas, products or services. Know what your core business is going to be. Focus on one product or service at a time. * Where Are You Today – You must know where you are today in order to develop a roadman to where you want to be in the future. * Keep Things Simple – Less is better.
Avoid long sentences. Be brief. Avoid geeky tech terminology and acronyms. Use bullet points. Embellish with graphs, charts and images. * Be Realistic – Set realistic seasonably accomplish. * Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses – Take an inventory of your individual and management teams strengths and weaknesses. Your Homework – Before you do anything do your research. Know your market, your ideal customers, market niches, your competitors, latest trends, barriers-to-entry, methods of pupation, distribution channels, pricing models, and promotions and advertising methods used in the industry.
The Key Steps To Develop A Killer Marketing Plan Using COSTA@ For large corporations it is not too unusual to see 100 page marketing plans. For a small startup, a marketing plan should be between 0-15 pages in length including graphs, charts and tables. The Apple phone launch marketing strategy provided above is a great example. Before you start preparing your marketing plan make sure that you have completed sufficient market research to determine if your idea, product or service is viable given all that you know about the marketplace you are entering.
Situational Analysis – Where are we now? This is where you take inventory of where you are right now. I recommend that you conduct your market research before you prepare your marketing plan. The Situational Analysis should include the following: * Product or Service – Describe he product or service in simple terms. Describe the market need filled or problem your product or service solves. Identify the total value proposition your produce or service offers customers. Market and Competition – Describe the type, size and geographic location of the market in which your product or service will compete, competitive landscape including the number of competitors, major competitors, direct competitors, market shares, market niches, stage of development and market trends. * Target Customers – Identify the individuals or organizations (“target market”) and customer segments you are targeting. In some cases, you may have more than one target market. Determine the following: * Who needs your product or service and why? What is the profile of your ideal customer and what are their attributes? How many potential customers are there? * How many different customer niches are there? * Is the target market or market niches undeserved? * Describe your customers by their shared characteristics for individuals and organizations. Individuals – Describe them by demographics: age, income, geographic location, and lifestyle. * Organizations – Describe them by number of employees, sales, geographic location, and industry. SOOT Analysis – Identify your competitive strengths and weaknesses, business opportunities and potential threats.
Arrange your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats into a four-quadrant grid like the one below: The purpose of a SOOT Analysis is to help you build on your business’ strengths, minimize and correct the weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of potential opportunities while formulating a plan to deal with potential threats. Think of a SOOT Analysis as a checkup for your business. Be honest with yourself, if you lack a strong marketing and sales team, list it as a weakness.
I also recommend that you read my blob post outnumbered 29, 2011 on how to prepare a SOOT analysis to plan for the future of your company. Management Team – List the key members of your present management team and you believe you will need to add key individuals to the management team list their position, title and duties. * Milestones Accomplished – Elaborate on significant milestones that have accomplished to date. Include major new customers, revenues, no of unique visitors, downloads, new patents, major personnel additions and awards. Objectives – Where do you want to be? Goals and Objectives – Set realistic goals and objectives. Make sure your goals and objectives are measurable and achievable. Measure them against your own efforts and abilities, not your competitors. There are two types of goals and objectives: * Quantitative – Those with specific, measurable results and numbers. * Qualitative – Those that increase value, like improving image or visibility. Strategy – How do we get there? Your marketing strategies answer the big question: HOW do you get from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow?
Be creative and brainstorm with your team. Don’t think in terms of what other organizations or individuals have done, but how you are going to get it done. Your marketing strategies should include the following: * Core Marketing Message – Your core marketing message is a short description of your business, products and services, employees, core values, business philosophy, mission and value proposition you bring to the customer relationship. Your core message should project what makes you unique and be conveyed in a manner that instantly connects with your ideal customers. Define Your Brand – Your brand isn’t Just your corporate identity like your logo, tag line, motto or its visual associations such as unique design, colors or packaging, but the relationship you eave with your customers. Your brand’s value proposition includes everything you have promised your customers: quality products, great prices, better selection, great service, more locations, moneybags guarantee, free delivery, etc. * Positioning Statement – How you intend to position your company in the marketplace. Will you compete on the basis of differentiation (e. . Technology leader, quality, durability, broad selection, etc. ), target a specific market niche (e. G. Affluent, professionals, Comb’s, management, etc) or compete on the basis of price (e. G. Luxury, premium, medium, bargain or low price). Explain why you have chosen this particular market position. * Business Model – According to Peter Trucker, the late Harvard management guru, “A business model is nothing else than a representation of how an organization makes (or intends to make) money. ” But, a business model is far more than this. Mark W.
Johnson, the Harvard professor and author of “Seizing The White Space,” says that a business model consists of three components: 1) It identifies an important Job a customer needs to get done and then proposing an offering that fulfills that Job better than any alternative the customer can turn to–in worth, the customer value proposition (COP), 2) A pricing model and profit formula that shows quantitatively that you can make a profit delivering on the COP, and 3) You can identify which company resources and which processes are essential to delivering the COP.