A quote that I use on a regular basis is “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” by Benjamin Franklin. In business, the most important plans to have are a business plan and a marketing plan. Today we will discuss the marketing plan. The marketing plan shows the direction of all marketing and advertising efforts. Remember, marketing is the total efforts of getting together buyers and sellers, whereas advertising is the types of communication used in marketing. Advertising includes TV, radio, online, print, and other mediums. Let’s go over some important parts of the marketing plan that will help your business succeed.
Situation Analysis – This is the current state of your business. It is where the question of why you are in business is answered. What products do you offer? What problem are you trying to solve? Also, how is your business different than others? The situation analysis is a look at the inner-workings of your business to identify product and service offerings, differences, and the main reason why you exist. Business owners can build a firm foundation for their mission and vision statement with this information and are better able to communicate their value to customers.
External Environment -The next part of the marketing plan is the external environment. What is going on outside of your business? Business owners should take a look at what is going on in the external environment or industry. Are other businesses in your industry succeeding or closing shop? Is the industry in a growth or declining phase? Could there be threats that could jeopardize your business operations? Industry information can be found online at http://www.sba.gov.
Target Market – Based on research, the target market section defines the ideal customers for your business. Who and where are your ideal customers? It defines income, gender, and level of education for your target market. When defining your target market, business owners should look at census, demographics, and other secondary information. A clearly defined target market enables business owners to better use resources to obtain new customers.
Advertising Mediums – There are many options available in advertising mediums. For example, TV, print, billboards, email, flyers, social media, and radio are some common mediums. Business owners should consider different advertising mediums to reach their target market. If your target market has high usages of the Internet, then use online advertising mediums. Take into account your marketing budget as well when choosing mediums.
Marketing Budget – The marketing budget explains how business owners will pay for marketing efforts. A marketing budget should be based on a percentage of gross sales, advertising mediums utilized, and other factors. Some marketing expenses to include in the marketing budget are tradeshows, events, and sponsorships.