Why Every Small Business Should Develop a Marketing Plan
No matter how large or small your business is a marketing plan is essential for long-term success. Most large businesses have a marketing plan in place and develop new plans yearly. Small businesses however, neglect this essential preparation thus subjecting themselves to the winds of change instead of anticipating those changes and being a pioneer in their field.
Marketing plans do not need to be elaborate, painstaking ordeals, but can be a fun and exciting way to get your creative juices flowing! Try to include the following into your marketing strategy:
1. An understanding of your competitors, their products and services, their pricing structure and any incentives, rebates, promotions that are currently running.
2. Identification of your target market including your primary and secondary market and the geographic area you will be concentrating on.
If you had a travel agency, your primary market may be consumers in their 50’s and 60’s who typically have discretionary income to spend on vacations.
This same travel agency’s secondary market may be singles or couples in their late 20’s or 30’s with no children who may also have discretionary income.
3. Marketing objective – beyond increasing sales by a certain percentage, which should be included, think of your objective as a long-term investment that can pay dividends to you. Examples are to develop a database of customers, increase referrals and sales leads, etc.
4. Marketing tools that you will be using allow you to capture this audience’s attention and then persuade them to buy your product or service. Examples of this would be:
Purchase a database for listings of 50 & 60 year olds who have expressed an interest in vacation opportunities, discounts etc. (These databases can be obtained through any mailing house.) This same database can also identify the 20 to 30 year old market as well.
Develop direct mail pieces, media advertising, e-mail pieces etc. that are directed toward specific buying cylces in your business. (People typically vacation during the summer and winter months, so your marketing pieces should maximize those cyclical opportunities.)
Website development and incentives.
5. Marketing Budget – must identify how much your business can afford to spend and then get quotes from various vendors to achieve your objectives.
Many small businesses find that developing a month-by-month calendar with their promotions and objectives clearly displayed is a constant reminder of the milestones they are striving to achieve.
Marketing plans are much easier than they appear and are essential in generating sales and awareness of your products or services. Don’t be afraid to sit down and write out whatever comes to mind. Eventually you will develop a plan that will help you reach your objectives!
Copyright: Lisa Zver, Target & Lead, July 13, 2006 All Rights Reserved