A marketing plan is essential for a small business to thrive, especially a new small business in a recovering economic climate. However, a marketing plan is more than just your website and business cards. You need to understand the essence of a basic marketing plan so you can develop one that helps your small business succeed.
Mission Statement or Core Message
This ‘core’ tells you exactly what you want to accomplish with your business and subsequently gives you direction with a marketing plan. Don’t just say you’re going to be the best regional auto shop. Make it specific. A better statement would be “to serve all customers with respect and care for their automobiles as if they were our own.” That gives you a great path for a marketing message and plan.
A market analysis is essential for developing a plan that will succeed. A plan made without considerations of the market or of the target consumer is a plan destined to fail.
Take the time to research basic trends in the market or industry in which you operate. Read trade journals and research demographic statistics. These are easy fundamental strategies, but can effectively help guide you on your marketing plan strategy.
You need to know your competitor. What are their products and services? What are their prices? What marketing strategies do they use? All these questions help guide you to form a better strategy than your competition.
Product or Service Features and Benefits
This section tells more than just a description of your product or service. While you should analyze your product or service for all its features and benefits it brings to a consumer, it must also describe how your product or service fits within your industry or market, why target consumers want to purchase it, and how it fits with your mission statement.
Sales Target, Budget and Strategy
Finally, you should have a sales target in mind so you know many units you need to sell. Then form a strategy based on your sales goals. Will you use ads? Promotions? Online marketing campaigns? And how much will it cost? These factors will help you finalize a marketing budget for the coming year.