Metric’s Guide to Developing an Annual Marketing Plan - Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Before Developing Your Marketing Plan

Deadlines, Responsibilities, and Budget

Before you begin, it is be helpful to establish three items:

  1. A deadline set in advance for the completion date of the first draft. It’s important to remember that establishing an effective plan will be an iterative process. You can count on your plan changing.
  2. Your team’s roles and responsibilities. It is important to identify who is doing what and when they will need it completed.
  3. Your budget. When it comes to putting together a marketing strategy it’s critical to establish ahead of time how much you have to spend, as it can have a major impact on the strategies you decide to implement.

Researching Your Market

The purpose of market research is to gather data on current and potential customers in order to better make decisions for your overall business plan, and ultimately reduce the risks involved in making these decisions. This is absolutely necessary– particularly in the start-up phase. Strategies such as market segmentation and product differentiation would be impossible to develop without market research. The goal is simply to better understand who and where your customers are. Conducting research does not have to be expensive. Anyone can access a wealth of free information online from various reliable sources.

No matter how you conduct your market research, you’ll be gathering two types of data:

Primary Market Research

Primary market research is research that you will compile yourself or hire someone to gather. It may be gathered directly from your customers or come from public sources. The following resources may be great assets for identifying and collecting your primary market research data:

  • Consumer surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Competitive analysis

Secondary Market Research

You may also gather market research from secondary sources. There are a number of search techniques and tools for finding market research online, and typically this information has already been researched and published by other parties. This information may be available for free or require payment. Use the following sources for finding valuable market research information:

  • Market research firms
  • Government sources
  • Economic Development sources

Your marketing strategy will make or break your business. Market research offers numerous ways to optimize your marketing strategies to improve the chances that your brand will succeed, grow and prosper.