You depend on your small business for a living. So you want it to make a profit. To earn profit, you should sell your product or service. This means you should have a customer, a market. You must convince your target market that you are the better choice than your competitors. This entails crafting appropriate strategies aimed at generating sales and/or getting a respectable market share. You have to execute these strategies through tactics or action plans. You need a marketing plan.
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is a written outline of your marketing activities that span a period of at least one year. It essentially shows what your marketing objectives are, what strategies you will employ to attain those objectives, how you will use the elements of the marketing mix – product, price, distribution, promotions – to implement your strategies through action-laden tactics. Your marketing plan includes also the detailed implementation plan, a contingency plan, and the conclusion.
Why is it important?
The marketing plan embodies in writing what you have thought about, brainstormed, planned, and agreed to do regarding your marketing activities. It is the blueprint you constantly refer to while building your business through systematic marketing efforts. If you have people working for you, it serves as their central reference as you generate sales and gain market share. As the business owner, it encapsulates your idea on how you will successfully tap your market amidst tough competition and external threats using whatever inherent strengths you have and taking advantage of existing opportunities.
How do you prepare a marketing plan?
Marketing plans come in different lengths and contents. Basically, it should have the following:
- Executive summary – an overview of the whole marketing plan; briefly highlighting key elements, findings, and recommendations; usually prepared last
- Introduction – brief summary of market research findings and analyses regarding the target market, consumer profiles, competition, internal and external environment
- Marketing objectives – SMART objectives you want to attain such as total sales revenue, unit sales, market coverage, market share
- Marketing strategy – this is the foundation of your marketing plan as it outlines the details as to how you will attain your objectives using strategies and tactics for each of the marketing mix element
- Implementation plan – timeline showing the sequence of specific activities, tasks, responsibilities, and deliverable based on the various strategies and tactics
- Contingency plan – the “what if’s” portion, what you intend to do in case of potential threats from competitors or uncontrollable external events
- Conclusion – strengthen your stand about the plan implementation
- Appendix – various data and numerical presentations used in the plan
You can always customize your marketing plan depending on your product or service, the type of business you are in, your marketing objectives and strategies, and your purpose.
For the success of your small business, create a written marketing plan, execute the planned activities, and measure and review results. Revise some portions if necessary and keep it attuned to your market and business.