Develop a Marketing Plan

by Norma

How to write a Marketing Plan for your new business

writingOne key ingredient of a successful business operation is creating and implementing a marketing plan. A market is a particular group of buyers, users or clients who need your services or products. Start by identifying your target market and understanding its needs.

Conducting market research doesn’t mean shelling out the big bucks. Here’s an article on how to conduct your own market research from WikiHow.

1. Write a clear and succinct mission statement.

The mission statement describes your business, services, and the markets it serves. It’s usually only in a few sentences. For large companies it can expand to two to three paragraphs. To learn more about mission statements, click here.

2. List and describe target or niche markets.

Who will your potential groups of users or clients be? List them and identify various segments of a market. Segments can include specific types of people in a company by role—for example, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, or marketing director. Segments of the consumer market can be age groups or other groups that share common traits, for example homeowners with small children. Niche markets are target portions within your identified segments such as homeowners with small children in Southern California.

3. Describe your services.

List the services or products you now offer and identify new ones you want to provide. Decide what staff, expertise, and costs are required to offer these services.

4. Describe marketing and promotional strategies.

Several approaches may be required for success. It’s important to understand why someone wants to use or buy your services and which marketing strategy they respond to. You should learn needs, problems, industry trends, and buzzwords. Read trade journals and attend professional conferences where you can meet prospective users or buyers in person. Become active in civic and professional groups and form strategic relationships. Find out what works best; you need interaction with clients or prospective clients.

Marketing strategies include:

  • Mailing out sales letters, capability brochures, flyers, and special offers regularly to the same groups in your targeted market.
  • Advertising in print media or directories. Advertising lends credibility (image advertising) and, like direct marketing, must be continuous.
  • Don’t neglect networking, either in person or online where your target markets congregate.
  • Offer training programs to introduce your services.
  • Write articles for local media or professional journals and newsletters that describe the benefits of your services.
  • Face-to-face selling can be costly if you see one person at a time. You may want to arrange to meet a group of people such as several department heads.
  • Pump out publicity and press releases to local newspapers, radio, and television stations.
  • Even negative publicity can increase sales. Really!
  • Take part in local and regional trade shows.
  • When something works, do it again. When something flops, don’t repeat it.
  • Most likely you’ll want to read marketing and sales books, take classes and workshops, even hire consultants and specialists if necessary.

5. Know the competition.

You must learn about your competitors and how to position yourself in relation to them. Write down your strengths. What do you want to emphasize? Next, write down what’s special about your services and how it benefits users. Do you beat the competition in value, price, product, or service, or a combination of these? This is what your marketing program will emphasize. Shout it out clearly with your marketing materials (see how we can help).

6. Set quantifiable marketing goals.

  • Set the number of new clients you aim to acquire.
  • Determine how many people you intend to reach.
  • Establish an amount of  increased sales for a particular service or product you offer or revenue you hope to generate.
  • Offer coupons and track how many are used and from which sources.
  • Count new leads generated, phone calls, emails or page hits received.
  • Stick to a detailed marketing budget and break down expenses and profits for the parts of your market plan.

7. Monitor your results carefully and often.

Just as you check the scoreboard when you attend a basketball game, you should check your marketing results. It’s like your business scoreboard. Are you ahead of the game or behind? Which marketing strategies are working and which aren’t?  Track and evaluate customers’ responses to every marketing strategy you try.

Ask customers and clients why they find a service important. Dig for their ideas and suggestions you can use to introduce your products and services to more prospects. Hearing your clients will enhance your market materials. and you may be able to acquire  testimonials–always ask before you use these in future promotional materials.

Tips:

Make finding and keeping customers with ongoing or repeat business a top priority.

Develop a customer profile to understand why existing clients come back so you can direct your efforts to gaining more repeat business.

Focus on your target markets. If you try to attract everyone, you risk spreading your efforts and finances too thin to attract anyone.

Speak your target audience’s language (the one they understand) to get your message across.

Keep a pad and pencil beside your phone. Ask how prospects heard about you or returning customers, how you can serve them better. Write it down.

Turn failure to success. Measure results for each market strategy so you can quickly modify or drop the losers while expanding the winning strategies.

  • Loss is a part of the average gain.
  • Loss inspires change.
  • Loss teaches when we pay attention.

Repetition, repetition, repetition. Those are the three rules to marketing success. Use all three over and over again when find a good strategy.

Do you have a tip to share about marketing? What has worked for you? What has not worked? Please tell us about it with a comment or email

If you are looking for someone to give a professional look and quality to your brochures, flyers, print media ads or web site design, check out our work here.

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