Your Friend Is Developing A Marketing Plan For Her New Business. What Should She Put In This Plan?
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If there is one thing that you need above everything else when you start a business, it is a marketing plan.
Even if your business is brick-and-mortar and not solely based on the web, a marketing plan should be your number one priority.
It is pretty mind-boggling how many people get into business thinking that they don’t need a marketing plan...
One of the most popular reasons for this seems to be based around the product.
Some people believe that their product is so good that people are just going to buy it without them having to do much at all.
But they aren’t taking into account the fact that if people never find the product – matter how good it is – they aren’t going to use it.
Marketing is about creating and expanding your market.
If you don’t have a customer base, then you don’t have anyone to buy your products, and it is a mystery why so many businesses ignore this very simple fact.
So, how do you create an effective marketing plan?
A good marketing plan will:
identify appropriate markets and customers
Will you be selling business-to-business or directly to customers? Who will be doing the selling? Sales will be conducted in store, online, direct email ...? Where will you get your mailing list? What is your web strategy? If you use retail, what stores will you have a presence in?
In terms of
identifying appropriate markets and customers,
your market includes all the people who might pay for your product or service.
start with who will purchase your product or service
identify the overall potential (or real) market and then work into a more manageable target market
explain why this group(s) would be interested in your products or service
to narrow that group down, consider why this group would choose your product or service rather than others (is it quality, ease, distance, price?)
There may be more than one reason and that means more than one market.
Ask as many questions as you can think of.
What is the average age, income level, education level of this group?
Where do they live? What is the gender makeup?
Think in terms of age, sex, family size, income, occupation, region, needs, interests, lifestyles, education level, income level.
Once you have identified the similarities, you have your target market.
Now you need to understand:
- what is the size of the current market?
- how much of that market can you capture and how?
- the market is growing? Quickly?
- the market is spending money? How much?
- how those markets may change overtime?
- discuss the social issues that could affect your business in the future and what you are going to do to improve
If you are writing your marketing plan for an existing business:
- discuss who are your existing customers
- review how you have attracted those customers, how you will retain the customers you have and how you will promote your product to new customers
know the competitors
At a minimum, you'll want to know the names and locations of major competitors, products or services offered, pricing structure, methods of distribution, strengths, weaknesses, profitability and market share.
Keep an eye on the competition at all times. Learn from their mistakes and their success.
sort out a plan for distribution that is efficient and effective
Give an overview of your distribution strategy, including any and all channels available to you.
Write down what will this cost you and what agreements do you have with distributors.
identify actions for establishing relationships with distributors, sales staff, advertisers and customers
Marketing is much more than just and ad campaign.
It relates to every aspect of your business, from identifying appropriate markets to positioning.
And this includes getting the word out.
Advertising, public relations, promotions, they are all about the same thing: getting your product and service in front of your potential customers.
identify and implement appropriate advertising
First, ask yourself:
- where do your competitors advertise?
- how and how often?
- do their campaigns work? If yes, why? If not, why?
- who will be handling your marketing campaign?
- how much will it cost?
- how the return will be?
A good marketing plan will include:
- industry and market trends awareness
- a bold strategy in place for pricing and positioning
A good marketing plan will make use of:
- the size of the market
- the needs of the customer
- the competition
In addition, a good marketing plan will:
include a projection of future revenue
guide your business to meet future customer expectations
- include plans for uniform brand distribution and building an identity that will be instantly recognizable to customers
- be flexible enough to be able to change based upon unforeseen events in the future
Remember, marketing means building a systematic process that inspires targeted customers to take action and buy your products and service
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