Developing a Marketing Plan

Have you ever tried to plan a vacation or road trip to a new destination without a map?   It’s a little tough if you don’t know where you’re going, or even which direction to head in.  It’s the same for your business.  You need to know the plan for your company and that includes marketing.

A marketing plan is a road map for growing your business and making sure you stay on the right track.   You need to plan where you’ll spend your marketing money, review what has worked and what has not and eliminate unneccesary distractions - if it's not in the plan, then you don't need to spend any energy or resources on it.

A marketing plan will also help you focus your business.   When you write it, you’ll take a look at where your organization is currently:

  • how it’s performing in the market
  • who your customers are
  • who you’re competing with
  • what’s happening in the larger market

By analyzing these pieces, you can better plan where you want to be in the next six or twelve months.

Many people act by gut or are reactive to opportunities instead of really studying what they’re up against.  What’s working in the market and what isn’t.  They try various forms of marketing because their competitors are or it’s the way their business or product has always been marketed. But by truly studying the market, you may find an angle or a niche that no one has tried.

Set a strategy and spell out the details that supports your strategy.  Think about how you’ll measure its effectiveness.  What are your sales projections after an ad campaign?   How long will you give it to work?  What will make it a success in your eyes?   Your marketing plan will help you understand your entire business better and what you need to do to succeed.

Whether you work with me or start out on your own, the following are essential elements for a robust and pro-active plan:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Position / Mission
  3. Destination Marketing
  4. Sales Strategy - goals/measurement -- plan/section for each market segment  ie: Tour, Corporate, Social, Association,  Off-season, Film Industry, etc..
  5. SWOT/Competitive Analysis
  6. TRT/STR Report
  7. Budget (market segment breakdown)
  8. Expenses
  9. Travel Schedule (tied to market segments)
  10. Public Relations

By having a cohesive and pro-active marketing plan in place, you will eliminate many inefficiencies - if it is not in the plan, then it is not done and misguided energy is minimized.  It should be a working document that provides a road map for each fiscal year.

Please contact me to discuss ideas for the development of your marketing plan.


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Matt Walters - Grape Leaf Hospitality - Passionate Hospitality Expert.  Marketing for Hotels, Wine Tourism, Lodging, Inns and B&B's.