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    Develop a marketing plan

    Develop a marketing plan header

    Marketing can take many forms and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts depends on an integrated approach.

    Remember, your written plan is only as good as the thought and planning that you put into it. Therefore, you should see the development of your marketing plan as an opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of your customer so that all future decisions are based on the profitable provision of what your customer wants.

    Developing a marketing plan graphic

    Before you can set out your objectives for the year(s) ahead, you need to find out what’s happening in the market place and how fit your business is to meet the challenges for the year(s) ahead. This helps you to answer the key question: where are we now?

    To answer that question you need to research the key trends in your sector, find out how you perform relative to your competition in the eyes of the consumer and you need to figure out what your key strengths and weaknesses are. This will help you to do a good SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis.

    The business environment in which we operate is also a significant factor in getting an objective view of where a business stands. Managers and operators of tourism businesses are acutely aware that they must compete strongly for every euro of revenue. So what does this all mean for your particular business? Can you see opportunities out there that need to be explored?

    Where do we want to be? Having answered the first question- ‘Where are we Now?’, you are in a better position to decide where you want your business to be next year and beyond. You are able to decide your strategy based on the facts and you can set objectives to help your business survive or refocus.

    How are we going to get there? In this final part of the plan you are ready to implement your strategy to achieve your objectives. Your key for survival is your customers so this part of the plan focuses on how you can retain or even attract additional customers.

    Using the marketing plan guide, you will be taken through the process of developing your marketing plan, together with the development and implementation of an e-marketing strategy, with reference to web development, search engine optimisation and social networking opportunities.