No business ever made much of an impact with their products or services without developing a marketing plan. More businesses fail due to poor or ineffective marketing than anything else. Another cause of failure is often the result of having an inferior offering, although even products and services that aren’t the best ones out there benefit greatly from a superior conceptual plan.

Developing a marketing plan provides the framework for direction and process in any endeavor. It also helps establish goals and provides reasonable expectations as to the progress of a company. Here are the important steps in establishing an efficient marketing plan.

1. Write down the USP (unique selling proposition) your product or service has. This should include every positive aspect of your offering. Don’t be bogged down with long rambling details; just use the key words necessary in a list format.

2. You should determine who your target market is. Be realistic about the people who have a potential to benefit from your services or products, and be sure to include all reasonable possibilities.

3. Any time you are developing a marketing plan, you should have in mind the different ways that you position services or products. You should not limit yourself to only one process by which clients can receive your product. Consider affiliate marketing or other ways that a third party can aid in sales.

4. The basic concept of how you market is an important decision to make. Utilizing all free marketing formats is highly necessary in commerce today. There must be flexibility to allow for technical and social changes as they come, but your original methods should be based on current and breaking marketing vehicles.

5. Set up a budget for marketing. Even with the many avenues of free advertising available, there has to be consideration given to the time it takes to put these campaigns in motion and upkeep them. If you are planning to pay to establish your brand, be sure that you find the best price for the services provided.

6. One of the most important things to realize about developing a marketing plan is that it must be adaptable to change. Be sure that you have a way to quantify the results you receive from all your various marketing efforts. At the end of every quarter, review the effectiveness of each strategy and be prepared to make changes if necessary. Plan to put the most effort in those areas that provide the best return, and constantly look for new ways to market your business.

Understand that developing a marketing plan requires concentrated thought. Give it the time and energy it needs. If your organization has other decision makers involved, meet with them only after you all have had time to contemplate methods and do any needed research beforehand.