A marketing plan is an essential planning element for a new small business. The marketing plan describes the products and services of the business, identifies the customers and creates a strategy by which to market the business.
A marketing plan is an essential planning element for a new small business. The marketing plan describes the products and services of the business, identifies the customers and creates a strategy by which to market the business. A marketing plan generally covers the business one year at a time, though it is an ever-evolving document that changes as industry circumstances merit. To write a marketing plan for a new business, the writer must first have an in-depth understanding of the business as well as the business budget. Many new business owners are reluctant to invest capital into marketing, but it is essential that a percentage of your gross sales should be allocated for marketing and business development. Without the marketing commitment most businesses will fail. Remember there are several forms of effective marketing, and there are some that have a low capital expenditure and the results are predicated on time spent.
There are several types of marketing options which include, but are not limited to: Radio, Television, print media, Social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter), Your Unique website and the elusive word of mouth or customer referrals. The following will give you some guidelines to determine the most suitable marketing direction for you. Remember, try to think outside the box and be a Me In Team marketer.
Identify the Market Situation
The market situation for a business includes analysis of the industry. To write an effective marketing plan, the business must be able to identify its competitors. The business should be able to point out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of each of the main competitors. Identifying this will help the business recognize its own competitive advantage. This is an area where it is stronger or better able to serve the market than the competition. It is what will set it apart in the market. Be the Me In Team business owner and strive to be better than your competitors.
Identify the Target Market
An important element of the marketing plan is to identify the target market of the business. Many businesses make the mistake of identifying a market that is too broad, such as all residents within a 100-mile radius. The target market must be broken down; the marketing plan should identify potential customers based on certain parameters. For instance, if the business is Landscaping the target demographic could be all homeowners within a specific radius who have a household income greater than $100,000 per year. This information will help you define the type of marketing that will best suit your needs.
Identify the Four P’s of Marketing
The four p’s of marketing are product, place, price and promotion. The product is what the business is selling and may be a tangible product or a service. The place describes how the product will be distributed to the customers. An example would be selling to retail boutiques through direct salesmen and merchandise marts. The price of the products is based on the attributes of the product, and what is needed to make a profit as well as what the market will bear. This will be largely based on prices of similar products in the market. If your company’s prices will be different from similar products, the business should be prepared to distinguish why in product promotions. Promotion is how the products and services will be promoted to the target markets. This could include a combination of publicity, traditional advertising and newer methods such as social media. What makes your product or service better than others?
Create the Marketing Strategy
In the next section of the marketing plan, the strategy for how to promote the products and services of the business will be outlined. It should specify exactly how the products will be marketed. Instead of just identifying magazine advertising, this section of the plan will state the name of the magazine, demographic information, pricing, issues when ads will appear and mock-ups of advertisements. The marketing strategy should be detailed enough to be able to be turned over to an agency and be executed without further input if necessary. Though businesses rarely operate in this manner, this is how specific the strategy should be. The more specific you can be as a new entrepreneur the more effective your marketing will be. Seek the council and mentorship of others to assist you with your strategy.
Formulate the Marketing Budget and Timeline
The final section of the marketing plan should provide an overview of the marketing budget. This should include any direct or indirect expenses that will be charged to the marketing department. This part of the plan should also include methods of measurement and timelines. For instance, it may state that within 30 days of a newspaper ad, the company should sell a certain number of products through that specific channel. This section may also include a weekly or monthly calendar that shows the promotions the business will implement. Projecting out potential sales and profits are crucial to determine future expansion objectives.
Marketing is a key component to your business, and should not be overlooked. Follow these steps and seek counsel and guidance if you need it. Be the Me on you marketing team, and create a dynamic process to create more customers and profits. Enjoy the journey.
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