Marketing Plan photo from ShutterstockSuccessful business owners leverage marketing plans to gain clarity on market conditions, their brand positioning, and to create sound marketing strategy. The end results of a solid marketing plan are clear-cut goals with date-specific action items.

As we observe the shrinking U.S.workforce and greater job competition, savvy career professionals should invest time in creating personal marketing plans. Career gurus have long touted the five year plan. However, in a highly competitive environment, knowing only what you desire is in no way sufficient. Similarly, starting a business based on what you want to sell, not taking into full account the business environment and your customers, is a recipe for failure.

Creating a personal marketing plan is not simply a mental exercise. Take the time to record the plan and refer to it at least once a quarter to ensure that you are staying on task.

Elements of a Personal Marketing Plan

Situational analysis

To built solid career strategy, thoroughly research your competition and environment. This initial step can help you sidestep roadblocks many professionals would consider ‘unexpected’ developments that are really quite predicable. Additionally assess your current position.

  • Who are your leading competitors? What traits do they possess and what actions have they undertaken to make them leading competitors?
  • What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
  • How does the current political, economic, social, technological and industry environment impact your career growth now and in the near future?
  • Where are your opportunities for growth?

Target market

What companies are on your dream list? Who are the influencers, connectors and hiring managers that can prove instrumental to your obtaining your desired future position(s)?

Career marketing strategy and tactics

What is your positioning statement? This can easily be your one sentence, high-impact, elevator speech that explains who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and the results you deliver to them.

A valuable component of developing strategy is determining your value. Map out your desired salary and benefits. Include any other forms of compensation you desire including items like flexible work schedule, ability to work from home, etc.

Next, determine how you will connect with your target market. Potential options include social networks like LinkedIn, networking groups, and professional industry associations.

Lastly, consider why a hiring manager should consider you.  Review your situational analysis.

Budget and action plan

Create a table at the end of your personal marketing plan that includes the following column headings: action item, budget, due date. If  you elect for items that your current employer may not reimburse you for including additional trainings, resume writing services, or joining networking organization, you may need to invest funds.

Lastly, reevaluate your plan at least annually to tweak as needed.