by Greg Alban
Posted on March 14, 2017 18:16 PM
We've all heard of them. And if you're a small-business business owner, you've probably used them at one time or another. But still, there are many interpretations of what a marketing plan is, exactly. The reason for all the confusion is that the term "marketing plan", can represent different things to different people, depending on the type of business you own, its size, and where it is in its evolutionary lifecycle.
Marketing plans can be complex and highly detailed or they can be simple and basic. For the purpose of this article, we'll address the fundamental elements that should be included in a basic, first-year, start-up marketing plan. Because, in our experience, the simpler the plan, the easier it is to understand and implement, especially for new business owners or first-time start ups who may not have an extensive marketing background. In general, a basic first-year marketing plan should include:
An Accurate Description Of Your Product Or Service. This should include your pricing structure. If you are selling a number of products or services, what is the price range? Is your product or service pricing value-oriented, mid-range or high end?
A Detailed Description Of Your Target Market. Who is your ideal customer? Is it an individual or a business? Is it a man or a woman or both? Is your target more value conscious or more label conscious? Be as detailed in your description as possible – this is why it's called your "target" market.
A Detailed Description Of Your Competition. What is your competitive landscape? Who are your biggest competitors, both directly and indirectly? What is the difference between what you do or offer and what your competition does or offers? What makes you unique? How do you plan to distinguish yourself from your competitors in terms of price, service, and product differentiation?
A Reasonable Estimation Of Your Budget. To be successful, marketing requires resources. You must commit to investing some percentage of your time and money to accomplishing your goals. Before you can create a workable marketing plan, it's important to have some idea of what you can afford to spend because tactics can vary wildly depending on what you have available to spend. Ideally, you will want to earmark a budget that can cover your activities for the entire year.
Create Your Strategy And Determine Your Tactics. Once you've defined the factors mentioned above, you can begin to formulate a plan for promoting your products and/or services. This involves identifying how you plan to position your company in the marketplace and the mix of tactics you will employ to communicate with your target audience. Many small businesses begin with a basic, first-year plan that they use as a foundation to build on. As their business grows and evolves, so does the plan. Tactical elements that you should consider in a basic plan include:
Tactics for branding your company. These involve creating a look, attitude and personality for your company and includes things like your logo, your graphic style, your company colors, and your brand voice,
Tactics for building awareness. These tactics concern how you intend to get your brand noticed, recognized, and remembered. Will you do it with press releases, direct mailers, bus banners and posters? Radio commercials?
Tactics for promoting your products and/or services. These are in-the-trenches tactics that focus on the actual selling of specific products and services.
There are as many different sizes and types of marketing plans out there as there are sizes and types of businesses. To develop the plan that will work best for your brand, consider engaing a MODsocket marketing consultant to help you sort out the variables. To learn more about how MODsocket can help take your small business marketing eforts to the next level, visit us online at modsocket.com.