Creating an Effective Marketing Plan for Your New Business
A lot has been written about market planning and strategizing, and to put it fairly, there is so much out there that it can be mighty confusing for entrepreneurs to zero in on a plan that would suit their business to the T.
From Philip Walton and Sam Knight to the marketing guru Philip Kotler, the world has seen a bunch of marketing behemoths share their genius and wisdom, but it all boils down to the common thread running through their plans, strategies and ideas for better marketing.
It isn't that hard really, as long as you know that of all the trillion marketing theses and write-ups that are out there, the following are the commandments for developing a good market planning:
- § The 5 "W's" and 1 'H': Ask yourself those essential questions - what, where, when, why, who, and how.
- i. Who forms my core target group/ audience?
- ii. What is my product function and USP?
- iii. When is the best time for me to roll out my product? Does time play an imperative role here?
- iv. Where can I get the best deals for procuring bulk raw materials?
- v. Why would my finished offering sell better than the others out there?
- vi. How much should I invest in direct marketing?
- § Do your research: Perhaps the most crucial step in making a marketing plan, market research is an in depth process that consists of identifying a market opportunity/ problem, developing an approach to the opportunity/ problem, research & design formulation (i.e., creating a blueprint for conducting further research), fieldwork and data collection, data preparation/ analysis and finally, report preparation and presentation.
Your research should be carried out to help you generate your future marketing actions and monitor your performance in accordance with current market trends.
- § Post research market and sales strategy: Your research should now give you an avenue to pinpoint those facets of your small business offerings that are most likely to generate consumer interest. Look to build upon the advantages you seem to be having over your competitors and chart out a crystal clear definition of what your product could do to satisfy consumer wants; no one will want to buy your product if there are a gazillion others giving them the same thing.
Once you are done with this, concentrate on your sales strategy which should include the 4 P's of marketing- pricing, promotion, placement and last but not least, the product itself.
- § Keep revising your plan: Do this by making the most of your imagination, effort and time and adding inputs wherever you can. Outline your plan by elaborating on the questions in point 1, and ask yourself if there is any more research work you still need to do.
Prioritize your marketing goals and make a 'to do list' if you feel there is a lot more that can be done. Be alert and gauge the economic environment around you; would it be feasible to spend as much on print advertising or should you tighten up the budget a bit and tap the internet instead? Be a smart cookie.
Change is constant; so make sure that your plan reflects the dynamics of '09-'10, not '08-'09.