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A Marketing Plan: Part 2 - SWOTs and Target Customers

Welcome back to our Marketing Plan series. We’re hope that you were so excited about creating a marketing plan after Part 1 that you just couldn’t wait to read this iteration. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)

In case you missed Part 1 in the series, make sure you go back and read it. If you want a very brief overview, suffice it to say that if you don’t have a marketing plan, you really need one. (There, now you’re caught up!)

Knowing your company
It doesn’t matter what industry you might be in—from restaurants to factories—companies are able to best present your product or service when you understand your niche market. This involves a clear understanding of your company, your competition, your competitive edge, and your target audience.

It may seem obvious to state that you need to know your company well before you can market well, but it’s true. Doing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis (and including it in your marketing plan) can be extremely helpful in defining your company, its products / services and what sets you apart from your competition.

Strengths and weaknesses are characteristics that exist within your company as it is. Opportunities and threats, on the other hand, refer to outside factors. Let’s briefly look over each of those areas:

Strengths - How are your products superior to others? What gives you a competitive advantage? What is your most popular or profitable product/service?
Weaknesses - Are you in a highly-saturated market? Do you have an inexperienced staff? Are you losing money?
Opportunities - What are some opportunities that you could capitalize on? Can you expand your product offerings? Is it time to raise prices?
Threats - What might stand in your company’s way to gaining market share? Are other businesses starting to sell similar items? Are your products / services not in high demand right now (for whatever reason)?

Start by answering these questions for yourself. It would be equally beneficial to have the owner of your company complete a SWOT so you can compare answers.

In your marketing plan, it’s key that you not only include a clear picture of your company and services but also how you compare to the competition and plan to grow.

Targeting your audience
In addition to understanding your company, you also need to know who it is that you’re selling to. After all, the better you know your target audience, the better you’ll be able to tailor your marketing material to them.

So… who is your target audience? In other words, who buys your products / services? If you don’t know, then your company is losing money. (That’s a big statement, we know, but it’s true.)

Creating a simple profile of your target audience can be incredibly helpful as you determine how to spend your marketing dollars. You might include things like: age, sex, how much money they make, what they do in their free time, where they live, etc. How often do they purchase your product / service - and in what quantity? Are they multi-million dollar companies or blue-collar individuals? What are their job titles?

Whoever your target audience is, make sure you narrow it down because this will help guide your marketing plan and media / public relations campaigns as you move forward.

What is it that your target audience wants? How can you best reach them? We’ll dive a bit more into this—along with your marketing goals, tactics, and objectives moving forward.

In the meantime, work on your SWOT analysis and target market profiles. Let us know if you have any questions. We’re experts at this stuff!