So, you’ve developed a product or service that you know people will love and now it’s time to present it to the masses. Sounds like you now need to develop and implement a successful marketing plan, but what exactly do you need to include in it? Marketing plans are fluid and are going to be subject to change and evolution over time, but it’s important that you have a clear structure set out so you can ensure that your spending and goals are properly aligned. Keep reading to find out about the first key elements that you need to include in a successful marketing plan. For a more detailed guide to marketing planning see our blog post: Segmentation Perhaps the most important element of any marketing plan, this is where you will document specific details about the segments or groups of people that you are trying to target. Work out who the groups are, what characteristics they have and how you can successfully identify them. By doing this you will be able to better talk to your target clients in the way that will appeal to them Research Once you have segmented your market one of the key things for me is clearly and consistently researching your target market. By doing this you are clear on what their key pains are and how you can overcome them. Don’t guess at this – ask them over and over again and this will further segment your audience and really build your understanding. I follow the Ask method. You can check it out here. Marketing goals and metrics As is the same with any plan, it’s important that you are able to measure success and track your progress by setting realistic goals. In the context of a marketing plan, worthy goals may include increasing customer acquisition by a certain percentage or selling a particular number of products. Set timeframes for these goals and remember that a good marketing plan is part of an ongoing process that includes establishing goals, measuring performance and adapting in order to keep achieving. Budget Effective budgeting is really make or break in the marketing industry, so it’s vital that this features in your plan. Be careful with your outgoings by determining which strategies can be afforded, what is possible to do in house and what you will need to outsource. A final word Overall, the most important thing that you can do when it comes to your marketing plan is continuously review it against your objectives, comparing your plan against results and adapting as and when you need to. When markets are constantly changing, it’s no good being static and rigid when it comes to your plans, keep learning and moulding your product or service into its industry. Start thinking about these element as you build your way to a succesful marketing plan and you wont go far wrong.