Developing a Marketing Plan 

If you think of some of the biggest events and successes in your life, you’ll realize few were spontaneous or purely due to luck. Your wedding, buying your first house, paying down debt, starting a business – they all began with a plan. Plans are what help you decide on a goal, determine how to get there and know when you’re making progress (or not). Ditto for your marketing plan.

The Details

Assuming you have a small business (vs. a huge corporation), your plan should cover one year. Plan to write several pages, maybe up to six or eight, depending on your business. You’ll need input and feedback from everyone involved in your business: your accountant, your employees, your partner(s), your marketing person, etc. Make sure your marketing plan is cohesive with your business plan and/or vision statement. Plan to review it every month and take notes on how reality is matching up with your marketing plan.

The Components

Everyone you ask will give you a different version of what to include in your marketing plan, but here are some basics that most experts advise:

1.      List and describe your products and services.

2.      Explain your geographic coverage.

3.      Who is your target market? (e.g. income level, gender, age)

4.      Who is your target persona? (This is a more detailed description of your “ideal” customer – a character sketch of sorts. A target persona for a bicycle store might be someone who is comfortable with technology, recycles, knows famous names in the cycling industry, plays hard on the weekends, hangs out on social media, etc.)

5.      What is your positioning statement in 40 words or fewer? (i.e. One or two sentences that tells your type of business, what you offer, who you target, why you’re different than your competition and what value you provide)

6.      What are your supporting statements to back up your positioning statement?

7.      What are you experts in?

8.      Who is your competition?

9.      How are you different than your competition?

10.  How do you market, sell and distribute your goods/services?

11.  What positive and negative changes in your industry do you foresee?

12.  Will your target market or persona be changing?

13.  What is not working in your business right now?

14.  What upgrades/changes will you need within the next year to be successful?

15.  What opportunities should we be seizing? What are our roadblocks?

16.  What are your big and small goals for the next 12 months? (e.g. hire more employees, open another location, add new product/service, expand territory, raise/lower prices, buy a building)

17.  How can you reach these goals?

18.  How will you measure success?

The Breakdown

Let’s say one of your larger goals is to double your profits within one year. Your sub-goals might include:

• Cut expenses

• Get more work from existing clients

• Get new clients

• Increase prices/rates

• Drop clients who are too high-maintenance

• Start collections on clients who haven’t paid

Under each of these sub-goals, you’ll detail your plan of attack. For example, to cut expenses you could put:

• Lease a smaller space

• Downsize the staff

• Start doing our own collections rather than outsourcing

• Work from home

• Clean our offices ourselves

Sample Marketing Plans

Here are some samples of marketing plans:

• http://www.morebusiness.com/templates_worksheets/bplans/printpre.brc

• http://www.slideshare.net/leerendlem/sample-marketing-plan

• http://inventors.about.com/library/bl/toc/blmarket.htm

If you’d like help creating your marketing plan or other segments of your business, we can help! Contact Kristie Melendez at (970)686-5805 or via k.melendez@easychairmedia.com.