Creating a Good Marketing Plan for Your BusinessPublish Date: Oct 20, 2009
Part of any successful business is a sound marketing plan. A good marketing plan doesn't need to be a complex document. It can be a relatively simple document which explains who you are, what services or products you provide, who your customers are, and your plan for attracting those customers to your particular product or service.
As your business grows and changes, and as the market changes, you will want to periodically update your marketing plan. Keeping it current is vital to the success of your business.
Developing a marketing plan will help you accomplish several things:
- Evaluate the needs and wants of your customers to help you create a service or product which will meet those needs and wants
- Inform your customers about the features and benefits of your service or product
- Determine the best ways to deliver your product or service to your customers
- Profit from your product or service
By creating a marketing plan you will be more likely to consider all the various elements of marketing. Many times valuable marketing aspects can be missed; a good plan will help prevent this from happening.
Your marketing plan will be necessary if you need to take out a business loan, as this is something a potential lender will want to look over before giving you a loan. As your business grows and changes, and as the market changes, you will want to periodically update your marketing plan. Keeping it current is vital to the success of your business.
Tips for Creating Your Marketing Plan
1. Write out your company's mission statement
Many companies and organizations have a mission statement. This usually briefly defines who they are, what it is they do, and what their vision, purpose, or goal is. It may also touch upon their basic business philosophy.
2. Narrow down your target market
Provide a detailed description of your ideal client. This may include particular customer demographics, such as age or income level, as well as any specific niche markets such as physicians or small businesses.
3. Describe the products or services you offer
This can include your current products and services as well as those which you would like to offer at some point. Also, describe the various aspects required to provide or deliver those products or services; for example, staff, level of experience or skill, and cost factors.
4. Describe the things which set your business apart
This is where you position your business in the market. Describe the various aspects of your business which make you different from your competitors. If you are not sure, ask a few of your loyal customers what keeps them coming to your business.
5. Describe your marketing and promotion strategies
If your business targets more than one type of market or niche, you may need to utilize different types of strategies to reach those customers. The better you understand what their needs are, the better you can determine what strategies.
6. Outline measurable goals
It is always important to set specific, measurable goals to be achieved within certain time frames. For example, a goal may be to acquire 20 new clients a month. Include in this section of your plan what it will take in terms of budget, time, and other resources to accomplish these goals.
7. Track your marketing results
By tracking your results you will know what works and what doesn't. There are many ways to do this in addition to looking at actual numbers. You can survey your clients or have them fill out comment cards. This will give you information as to how your can improve your current marketing strategies.
8. Set dates for reviewing and updating your marketing plan
You don't want your marketing plan to become outdated. By determining in advance how often you will review it and update it you will be more likely to follow through.
While this isn't a comprehensive list, it provides you with the basics for setting up a good marketing plan for your business. Follow your plan and change it as your business grows and changes. With a good marketing plan, you will be on track for success.