A strong marketing plan plays a significant role in contributing to the growth of a business. Is your franchise employing a marketing approach that drives profitable results? Adrian Price, from Menzies LLP, explores the five key stages that should form part of every successful marketing strategy.
1. Marketing Situation analysis
The first step in the marketing process involves a review of the external environment in which a business operates. Analysing key competitors and investigating economic and social factors in the external environment is crucial to understanding your market and developing a competitive advantage. Situation analysis also involves researching into customer needs and wants. Understanding and identifying opportunities to address customer needs (real, imagined and stated) forms the basis upon which to build a general idea of the customer that your franchise should target.
2. Design marketing strategy
Detailed market research should be carried out to produce further information on the basic customer profile established in stage one. This information will be used to select your target market and to develop a value proposition that will encourage targets to buy from your business and not a competitor. There are many ways in which a business can define its value proposition or competitive edge and product differentiation can include form, features, quality, reliability, style, design etc.
3. Writing the marketing plan
Stage three involves composing a formal marketing plan. Having identified who you want to sell to and what your unique selling points are, the focus now lies on verifying your business has the right product offered in the right place, sold at the right price and promoted at the right time. Satisfying the demands and the questions brought up by the 4ps should guide the structure of your marketing plan.
- Product (Does the product or service fully meet the unfulfilled needs of your chosen target? Does it have the correct attributes, benefits, value added factors and branding?)
- Price (what are you charging and why?)
- Promotion (what is required in advertising support, PR, promotional activity like rewards, loyalty schemes, discounts, incentives?)
- Place (what distribution channels do you use, how do you deal with stocking issues and delivery?)
“…continually monitor and evaluate the process, obtain testimonials of excellence for future use and refine the plan…”
Answers to the 4ps should be accompanied with clear time frames, an allocated budget and a distribution of respective roles and responsibilities stating who will drive the process.
4. Bring the marketing plan to life
The implementation phase requires communication to and approval of the marketing plan by key stakeholders. Gathering feedback and areas for improvement facilitates the necessary buy-in from key personnel.
Furthermore, implementing a plan encompasses moving from the process of generating ideas to dealing with practicalities and logistics. As such, this stage will involve: ordering procedures, delivery, training, feedback, cash effects of project (direct spend and working capital needs) and so on.
Clear communication and careful management when transitioning from the conceptual to the real, will ensure that your marketing plan is brought to life with little error or disruption.
5. Evaluation and adjustment
Finally you have to continually monitor and evaluate the process, obtain testimonials of excellence for future use and refine the plan as required. Measure success, learn from mistakes and be prepared to go again and again.
In franchise networks, much of the background is prepared by the franchisor, but of course there will be some stars in the network that are very adept at marketing. Work with marketing professionals to gather and collate concepts, good practice and innovative ideas and pass these on to fellow franchisees.
For further information or to discuss the issues raised in this article, please contact: Adrian Price Partner T: 01489 566700 E: firstname.lastname@example.org