Starting a New Business? Start with a Marketing Plan!
Updated: Oct 8, 2018
A person running a business wants to get their name out there. They want to sell their goods. Where do they start? The best plan of action for any business is to start off with a marketing plan before doing any advertising campaign.
What is a marketing plan? A marketing plan is a strategy that proves that you know what you are doing and not just going to do a half assed, playing it by ear, job of getting consumers to recognize your new brand.
What is in a marketing plan?
Why are you special? The first thing that a marketing plan must include is research on why someone is going to need or want your product. Is it unique? Is it a sustainable product, or something that is going to be beneficial to the consumer? Why should someone choose your product over another one? Do you have competition?
Who are you going to sell to? The next thing to consider is that there has been lots of research out there already done on consumer behavior. However, no one really should think they will sell their product to EVERYONE. You must research who is the best segment of people to try to market to. (Marketing does not mean sell, and I will get to that later.) What is the age group of your target consumer, the income bracket, the gender? Are they parents? Are they home owners, car owners, pet owners, etc.? What country do they live in? (International marketing is also something I will leave for a different time.) This seems pretty tedious, but it is necessary to know who you are going to be setting up your campaign for. This is the very core of your marketing plan.
How do you want your customers to see you? Do you want to appeal to as a lifestyle product, where people think using your product gives them status? Do you want to be seen as an everyday essential? There are many ways to appeal to the consumer, but you have to determine your placement in the consumer's eyes.
SWOT Analysis A WHAT analysis? A SWOT analysis! It stands for your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. You have to really do your business's soul searching and determine, honestly, where you fall in any of these categories. If you are confused, there is a good article at http://articles.bplans.com/swot-analysis-examples/ on how to create a SWOT. It has good examples. You should do one on your own business, and one on two to three of your competitors. This involves researching things like your competitors advertising, their financial failures or successes, how their business is expanding or shrinking, etc. Do your homework. You will only benefit by doing this in your marketing plan.
What is the Best Course of Action? So, I mentioned earlier that marketing is not about selling. Wait, you want to sell your product! Marketing means how will you engage with consumers. Do you want to use a traditional method? I guess people may still read a newspaper or see a billboard, and watch TV, or listen to radio, but the real way to market to reach most age groups, except for maybe the very elderly, is online. So do you jump on Facebook and put a photo of your product and the price? Absolutely not! You first investigate by researching what social media platforms your target market are using online. Are they even on Facebook? Do they use Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? Youtube? Yes, Youtube? Are they blog readers? Now, do you post photos or videos of your product and post a price? No. When you are done with the plan, you will know that scheduled content, regardless of the platform involves you creating a relationship with your audience. Pretend you are throwing a party! Be delightful. Entertain. This can involve a lot of time, and may even involve hiring a marketer or marketers. They can take the time to use specific marketing programs available that hears your name when it is spoken and helps you determine what people are saying about you online. This allows you to have your marketing team be available to jump in and put out fires, or just engageWant to add a caption to this image? Click the Settings icon. and be charming. People remember a good party, and they like to tell their friends about it.
Where is it being sold? Is this a product that will require a sales team for direct selling? Will this be sold in the supermarket on a shelf? Will this be an online product?
What is it worth? You got bills. We all got bills! You want to make sure you price your product to cover your overhead, and cover the product, but how do you decide on the proper strategy to price your product? Here is a great article that describes the different strategies.
The next thing to consider is that there has been lots of research out there already done on consumer behaviour. However, no one really should think they will sell their product to EVERYONE. You must research who is the best segment of people to try to market to. (Marketing does not mean sell, and I will get to that later.) What is the age group of your target consumer, the income bracket, the gender? Are they parents? Are they home owners, car owners, pet owners, etc.? What country do they live in? (International marketing is also something I will leave for a different time.) This seems pretty tedious, but it is necessary to know who you are going to be setting up your campaign for. This is the very core of your marketing plan.
Money! Money! Money! Do not be one of the people that advertise online that you need a graphic designer, but want them to use their work for their portfolio because you have not planned this out. There are graphic designers, printing, TV, radio, the marketing software I was telling you about. All this costs money. As part of your marketing plan, you break it down, doing this per each campaign, figuring out your marketing financials. You have to estimate how much you will sell to cover these costs. This also takes research. Marketing is a large cost at first, but as time goes by and people know your brand, it is reduced.
When do I do it, and who is responsible? A schedule for marketing should be done per campaign. It should list in the marketing plan the person assigned to each task and the general dates when things will get done. Make sure you have a person assigned to content scheduling. Content should be going out regularly at various times for maximum coverage.
BOOM! You are done... For now. Every time you create a campaign for a product or a business, you must revisit the marketing plan and start over again. By creating a marketing plan, you have set your business up for success. Don't put the cart before the horse. Have a strategy! Create a plan!
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