by Richard Baker, Food Distribution Guy
Once upon a time, there was a tube of toothpaste. It was called Crest, or Colgate, or maybe Pepsodent. You chose your brand and went on your way. Today multiple brands occupy entire shelves regardless of the category. In the US, between the period of 1975 and 2008, the number of products in the average supermarket swelled from an average of 8,948 to almost 47,000. Consumers have always had choices, but today options have exploded beyond all reason.
In today’s grocery store brands only have 3.5 seconds to grab the consumers’ attention. Yet, despite the increase in competition and the short time frame to attract consumers’ attention, many business’ do not create a marketing plan to stimulate trial purchase and brand awareness. So, what are the benefits of a marketing plan, what are the plans key components, what are the most effective ways to entice new product purchase and what are some cost effective promotional strategies to kindle brand awareness?
The Benefits of a Marketing Plan
A marketing plan is a blueprint that outlines business’ activities involved in accomplishing specific marketing objectives within a set time frame. The purpose of the plan is to clearly show what steps or actions will be taken to achieve the plan’s goals. For example, a plan may have a strategy to increase the organization’s sales and market share. Though there are multiple benefits in creating an annual marketing plan, here are just three:
- Marketing plan makes sense of business’ environment: The marketing plan takes into account all aspects that could impact business’ ability to operate in the market place (i.e. competition, social, economic, legal…).
- Marketing plan enables clear decision making: Having determined what factors will affect their business, they are now able to make all the marketing decisions required (i.e. are they competitively priced, do they have the necessary product line up to satisfy customer needs?).
- Marketing plan prevents panic decisions: The framework of the plan ensures business will not be taken by surprise by market developments, or be pushed off course by unexpected developments.
The Marketing Plans Key Components
The seven key elements to the marketing plan includes:
1. SWOT analysis: What are the products strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? The SWOT analysis helps establish “SMART” objectives.
2. Product positioning: Critical element of the marketing plan that determines how to best communicate products’ attributes to their target customers.
3. Consumer target audience: Who is the products primary and secondary target audiences and where do they hang out?
4. Marketing objectives: Business’ marketing objectives typically include some or all of the following:
- Increase sales.
- Build brand awareness.
- Grow market share.
- Launch new products.
The marketing objectives established should incorporate “SMART” objectives:
5. Strategies and tactics: Marketing strategies define the actions to address the marketing objectives. They encompass marketing’s 4Ps:
- Product: Does the product feature a USP?
- Price: Can the product be competitively priced at retail?
- Place: What distribution channels does the customer shop in?
- Promotion: What are the best strategies to generate brand awareness?
The tactics are the action plan that flow from the marketing strategies and are tracked to measure the success in achieving the marketing objectives.
6. 30 Day action plan: Written outline of the plans business have established for the first month of the marketing plan.
7. Marketing budget: An estimated amount of money that will be required to promote products (internally and externally) during the calendar year.
The Most Effective Ways to Entice New Product Purchase
Canadians love to try new products, especially Canadian brands. Eighty-Nine percent (89%) of Canadians believe trying new products is fun and ninety-two percent (92%) of Canadians still try and make it a point in buying Canadian brands and products. So, What are the Best Ways to Encourage Consumers to Purchase a Product They Have Never Bought Before? Chart 1 outlines the Top 8 Ways according to a study undertaken by EBATES.
Cost Effective Promotional Strategies to Drive Brand Awareness
A solid brand awareness strategy takes planning and is sustained by good content. No, just having a website and a face book page will not cut it. While there’s no quick fix for becoming a household name, here are a few cost-effective brand-building strategies:
- Video marketing: YouTube is the number 2 search engine behind google. Video marketing is a cost-effective way to communicate a brands message other marketing tools can’t do.
- Email marketing: Giga Om research reveals e-mail marketing as the single most effective tactic for generating brand awareness.
- LinkedIn Groups: LinkedIn Groups have been identified as a strong resource in building credibility, creating relationships and helping grow the business.
- Create social media presence: In addition to Face Book, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are cost effective social media platforms.
- Blogging: Drives traffic to business’ website and helps establish authority and credibility.
- Cause marketing: Consumers, especially millennials embrace brands that give back to society and the environment.
Impact for Small Business
Don’t be fooled by people who argue marketing plans are for big business only. There is no reason why a smaller business cannot benefit from a marketing plan. The purpose of such plans is to map out the decisions made to determine the future success of the business. Any business, of any size, will find that instrumental. The key is to increase brand awareness; internally in working with the retailer and externally in engaging in conversation with the consumer. Social media has leveled the playing field for small business. Business must identity their target market and understand where they hang out.
This post was originally written and published at www.fooddistributionguy.com. For more help Getting and Staying Listed in Canada’s Grocery Sector, connect with them through their website, or give them a call toll free: 1-844-206-FOOD (3662).