How to Write a Small Business Marketing Plan
Posted on May 4, 2012 by Lola Rotimi-Sosanya
The marketing plan, same as the business plan is an important and essential factor in starting up any business. It explains the who, what, where how’s of any start-up. The difference between a business plan and a marketing plan is fairly simple. A business plan explains the overall details of the business that you are starting up, as the marketing plan is just a part of the bigger picture. In analogy, the marketing plan is a detailed portion of an elaborate painting, as the business is the painting itself.
Marketing is the backbone of every business, big or small. A marketing plan helps you distinguish how to get your company exposed, who to expose them to, as well as to project how your company will perform in a certain period of time. This applies to Fortune 500 companies or to your fashion accessory retailing business. A marketing plan adjusts to the nature and size of the business. If you are coming up with your own start-up business, a small business marketing plan will be of great help to get you up and started.
GETTING STARTED – HOW TO WRITE A SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING PLAN
In creating your marketing plan, you need to have the essential components that makes the marketing plan an effective tool (You don’t just want a pile of papers with fancy paragraphs). These are:
1. Target Market:
This describes your specific client base or your target segment in the market. Although you can aim for all, there are just some segments, if researched thoroughly that can prove to be most beneficial for both your business and the clients.
2. Competitive Analysis:
This component should describe your competition, or any factor that could pose a threat to the success of your business. The more detailed this section, the better it is for you to get an objective picture of your position in the market.
Your marketing plan needs to have the following as a basic structure:
1. Unique selling point or niche:
This portion describes what you can put on the table to entice customers to support your business and buy your product. Normally, you need to point out how you are different from your competition in terms of service, quality, features, price and more. The more you can point out, the better.
2. Pricing strategy:
There are many pricing strategies that can be employed (like price skimming, cost-plus pricing, premium pricing, etc). However, the main goal of coming up with pricing strategy that suits your business is to create mutually profitable customer relationships. You want both ends happy.
3. Sales and distribution strategy:
This strategy is not limited to just marketing the company, but involves promos, logistics of products and locations to name a few. Here, you distinguish how you conveniently get the customers to come to you or “draw in the crowd.” Your distribution strategy is how your products reach the hands of the end consumers.
4. Advertising and promotions strategy:
Although the best marketing tool one can ever get is word of mouth, this may take some time until people preach the wonders of your products and services. In this component, you need to identify how you want to let your presence be known, and how much you are willing to spend for it.
A marketing plan should be as detailed, yet as simple as possible. The less cluttered your strategies are the easier it is to manage. Keep in mind that your business exists because of your customers; therefore, always put yourself in their shoes when making marketing related decisions.
SAMPLE SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING PLAN TEMPLATE
Briefly explain the reason and goals behind your business. Basically, it answers why your business is in existence. You can also put a time frame should the plan be long-term or short-term.
2. Market description:
Briefly enumerate and describe the market you wish to target. Examples are:
- Young professionals
- Social classes in terms of income (A, B, C or D)
- And more
3. Target Market:
From your description, give details that distinguish the needs or wants by population, spending habits, routine and others within the scope of which your business caters to. With enough research, this could be achieved. Key factors you need to know is:
- Age bracelet
- Population per area
- Total population
4. Competitive Analysis:
Enumerate and describe your competition. This could be, if not the hardest part of the marketing plan as you need to know everything about your competitors. Just as how you would not give out your strategies, they won’t expose their bag of tricks either. Extensive research is needed for this. Key points you need to know are:
- What are their target markets/target segments?
- What is their niche?
- Why do customers flock to them?
- Find out all you can about their products/services, pricing strategy, and promotions.
5. Unique selling point or niche:
Once you figure out your market and weed your competition, enumerate and define what makes you unique and what plans you could develop to capture the market. Examples are:
6. Pricing strategy:
Different businesses, products and services employ different pricing strategies. Describe how you intend to produce quality with profit. Give the details and figures how this will be done. Remember that pricing strategies are mainly aimed to create mutually profitable customer relationships. Examples of pricing strategies are:
- Cost-plus pricing
- Penetration pricing
- Psychological pricing
- Price leadership
- Premium pricing
7. Sales or distribution strategy:
Describe how you intend to sell and distribute:
- Store locations
- Partner establishments
- Delivery scope
- Delivery details
- And more
8. Advertising and promotions strategy:
Enumerate and describe the details you wish to reach your market. Examples are:
- Advertising type
- Projected outcome
- Promos & Gimmicks
- Projected outcome
- Return of invested amount projection