A marketing plan includes everything from understanding your target market and your competitive position in that market, to how you intend to reach that market with your own tactics and differentiate yourself from your competition in order to make a sale.
A small business marketing budget should be a component of this marketing plan. This should outline the costs you are going to occur in your marketing goals within a pre determined time frame. You don’t need to spend money on a market analysis firm, you can accomplish much of this yourself.
The Marketing Plan is generally undertaken for one of the following reasons:
- Needed as part of the planning process within the marketing functional area.
- Needed for a specialized strategy as you are introducing something new, such as your business is new to the community, or a new product planning, entering new markets, or trying a new strategy to fix an existing problem.
- Is a component within an overall business plan, such as a new business proposal to the financial community.
The business must be aware of its strengths and weaknesses through internal and external analysis. Look for market opportunities, for your services and products from the viewpoint of the customer, go for some ‘outside in’ thinking. “What is the customer looking for and what does the customer want?”
The business must gain knowledge of the marketplace from its customers and must analyze its target markets. Are there additional markets the business can tap into that are closely related and can round out your products or services.
Make sure your business knows its competition, current and potential, be able to identify the competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.
Will this research improve your position in the marketplace; if so apply these resources to your target market(s).
Now, utilize the information you have gathered about yourself, your customers, markets, and competition and write down a Marketing Plan that provides measurable goals.
Now you can select marketing/sales tactics that will allow you to achieve or surpass your goals.
Now you have to implement the plan, within your established budget and then measure its success in terms of whether or not the goals were met, or the extent to which they were not met.
The Marketing Plan is an ongoing tool designed to help the business compete in the market for customers, and services. It should be re-visited, re-worked, and re-created often, it should be part of an ongoing self-evaluation process and unique to your business.
A. Mission Statement
- State the purpose of the marketing plan.
- Review business goals and objectives as well as specific strategies to reach them.
Everything your company does should be guided by and consistent with your Mission Statement. This is a short (one or two paragraph) statement of the fundamental nature of your business, answering the questions: “What business are we in?” and “Who do we serve?”
The mission statement is the one place you can be general, rather than specific. This is your vision of the business: it’s philosophy, and what makes it different from any other business.
If you don’t already have a mission statement, write one down. Refer to it often as you develop your marketing plan. An opportunity that takes you away from your business mission is not a good opportunity for you. A strategy or tactic that does not carry the business towards fulfilling its mission is faulty and should be revised.
B. Diagnosis: Where are you right now?
In order to determine how to get where you want to be, you need an accurate, objective picture of where you are now.
Write a brief statement assessing the current state of the business.
- Identify each product or service in terms of name, trademark, color, shape or other characteristic, including packaging and labeling.
- What is your competitive advantage? How does your product or service differ from the competition in terms of exclusive processes or superior ingredients, or other features.
- What are your strengths versus your competition’s?
- What are your weaknesses versus your competition’s?
- Determine the cost of each product or service.
- Determine the price you charge for each product.
- What is your product’s/service’s personality?
- 1. Identify your customers and include all demographic and lifestyle information
- 2. Who are your customers?
- Male or female?
- How old?
- What education level?
- What type of work? Profession?
- What level of income?
- How knowledgeable about your product or service?
- What factors (e.g., price, availability, service, etc.) influence this customer’s purchase decisions?
- What other people (if any) influence the purchase decision?
- How would you describe your customers’ personality?
- Is there anything else unique about your customer?
Exercise: Think about the 20% of your customers who generate or will generate 80% of your business.
You know, I don’t think that ‘the one man show’ exist, and if so, at least not for very long.
You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win. ~ Zig Ziglar
Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were. ~ David Rockefeller
To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart. ~ Thomas Watson, Sr.