If you have a business or are introducing a new product, service, or brand, or if you are starting a new business then you may want to consider writing a marketing plan. Even small business owners need to take marketing their company very seriously. The simple fact is that marketing is one of the three functions every business share.
|Create a Marketing Plan|
A marketing plan is like a business plan in many ways. In fact, a marketing plan is often used as a section of a business plan. If you are also writing a business plan it may be a good idea to write one version of the marketing plan in as much detail as possible and then write another shorter version for the business plan.
Marketing Plan Outline Summary
There are typically 10 sections to a marketing plan. They are as follows; Content List, Marketing Goal and Big Idea Summary, Market Environment, Objectives, Positioning, Strategy, Budget, Next Steps, Long-term Outlook, References.
Below Is a list of all the components in a marketing plan plus a description of each one.
10 Sections of a Marketing Plan
- Content List – This is a simple table of contents with a brief description of each section.
- Marketing Goal and Big Idea Summary – Here you come up with a smooth sounding elevator pitch of why what you are doing matters and how successful the whole project is going to be.
- Market Environment – This section gives details of surrounding variables that directly impact the product and the plan. Examples of these variables are descriptions of target market customer profile, competition info such as a description of substitute products or industry leading brand, current business industry climate, relevant legal and political environment, etc.
- Marketing Objectives – In this section you need to outline (in detail) the sales and marketing objectives that need to be met in order to meet the marketing goal. It is important to have clear expectations. Be sure to include some idea of profitability and overall investment returns.
- Positioning – Here you explain the overall advertising message that you want to convey to your target market. For example, is this a product for the elite wealthy business man who needs to own one if he truly has what it takes to be a leader in the business world. Perhaps this is an athletic brand only for those who know what it takes to train like the best and do what it takes to compete with the best. Also include any relevant slogans, brand statements, mission statement, etc. This section should smoothly lead and act as an introduction to the next.
- Strategy – This is probably the most important and longest portion of the marketing plan. It is here where you detail just how you are going to sell this product. Make sure to include advertising methods, where the product will be sold, how the product will be displayed, the pricing strategy, customer loyalty programs, plans to generate repeat customers, and lead generation practices. How it will be distributed. How will you take customers from your competitors?
- Budget – Create a detailed description of what it is going to cost to put this plan into action. It may also be a good idea to include Figures on expected ROI.
- Next Steps – Have a call to action that clearly states what must happen now to get the ball rolling. This is almost like the “close” to try to seal the deal with the reader. Whether it is your manager, investors, or a partner you want to do your best to get a commitment to move forward.
- Long Term Outlook – Now that you have told them what they should do next you can remind them why they want to agree to your big idea. Describe where you see these efforts leading in the future. Perhaps expansion plans, new products that complement the one in focus, or whatever your vision for the future is. Forecast how big this thing could get.
- References and Acknowledgments – This is simply a section to give credit where credit is due. If you used numbers from some economist’s report or whatever the case may be sure that information finds its way here.
Final Marketing Plan Tips
- Do your research. The business world is cutthroat and you don't want to take any shortcuts that could result in bad information or missing information. Therefore to be as thorough as possible when researching the market and competition. Research is one of the vital components of marketing.
- Be sure to exhaust online marketing and advertising options when coming up with your promotion plans. Typically you will get the most bang for your buck utilizing internet advertising. This can help improve the budget section as well.
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