from Small Business Chron.com 7/13 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz 9/13
Marketing Plan is an essential element of a Business Plan for a new small business. The MP describes the products & services of the business, identifies the customers, and creates a strategy by which to market the business. A MP generally covers the business one year at a time, though it is an ever-evolving document that changes as industry circumstances merit change. In order to write a MP for a new business, the writer must first have an in-depth understanding of the business as well as the business budget.
1. Identify the Market Situation
The market situation for a business includes analysis of the industry as a whole. In order 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. [Do a SWOT Analysis] 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 and help it grow.
2. Identify the Target Market
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 into key parameters; the MP should identify potential customers based on these key parameters. For instance, if the business is marketing foreign language software, the primary target market may be college-educated men & women aged 25 to 54 who are required to travel internationally for business or travel internationally for pleasure on a regular basis.
3. Identify the Four P’s of Marketing – Product, Place, Price & Promotion.
The Product 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 & 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 companys prices will be different from similar products, the business should be prepared to distinguish why in product promotions. Promotion is how the products & services will be promoted to the target markets. This could include a combination of publicity, traditional advertising & newer methods such as social media.
4. Create the Marketing Strategy
In the next section of the Marketing Plan, the strategy for how to “promote” the products & services of the business will be outlined. It will 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.
5. Formulate the Marketing Budget & 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 & timelines. For instance, it may state that within 30 days of a magazine 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. [Wiz4biz: Now good luck on your Marketing efforts. You’re going to need that. However, “Good luck favors the prepared”, so prepare well.]
Comments: Is there anything you could add