How To Create a Marketing Plan [Business Plan Basics #5]
Part 5 of the Business Plan Basics is the ever-important Marketing Plan. As more and more people continue to shun the traditional career path in favor of pursuing the exciting path of bringing their own big ideas to life, the competition for customers and clients for entrepreneurs is getting tougher and tougher. That’s why a solid marketing plan, which is defined as your approach for getting your business product or service in front of your ideal customers, is absolutely key to your success.
The Marketing Plan is especially important for new and young businesses, since in order for you to be successful you have to first find ways to get on people’s radars. If they don’t know you’re there, they can’t buy what you’re selling!
A Marketing Plan typically has 4 parts: your “selling proposition”, your strategy for pricing, your sales and distribution plan, and your promotional plan.
Here’s a closer look at each one:
This is the way you simply and clearly tell your ideal customer what you have to offer and why it’s unique from what your competitors offer. In your selling proposition, you’ll also want to succinctly state what your customers will get out of using your product or service.
The benefit of figuring out your selling proposition is it gives you the language to use when describing your business to anyone in the outside world — it can be the seed of your “elevator pitch,” a concept based on the idea that any organization or company should be able to clearly state what they’re all about in the time in takes for a short elevator ride. (Hey, if you’re in the elevator with a potential customer or funder, you’ll want to have that pitch ready!)
In order for a new good or service to be successful in the market, the pricing has to be just right. Meaning, it’s got to meet customers’ expectations for what they’re willing to pay for what you’re offering based on what competitors charge and what extra value they’re getting by spending their money with you. You’ll also want to make it clear that you understand how the price you set for your goods or services compares with others in the marketplace so you can convey that information to your customers.
Sales & Distribution Plan
This section of the Marketing Plan breaks down how your product or service is actually going to reach the end user. Is your idea a product? If so, how will you get your product into the hands of your customer? A service? How will the clients experience receiving and using that service? In addition to outlining the distribution plan, this is the place to explain what the actual “sales” process looks look. Will people purchase your product or services through a website? Will you have a physical location where people will buy your product in person? Describe in as much detail as possible each step of sales chain.
How are you going to spread the word about your business venture to the people who are your potential customers? The Promotional Plan section of the Marketing Plan is the place to spell it all out. You’ll want to think about things like: how much money, if any, you’ll spend on advertising, how you’ll use social media, what kind of creative, promotional ideas can you dream up to start a buzz, and how you can generate press (a.k.a. free publicity) for your idea. Have fun with this section, and think outside the box. These days you don’t have to have a ton of money set aside for advertising — a clever social network campaign that goes viral can be worth a billboard on the side of a freeway any day!
Need some help getting all the pieces of your Marketing Plan in order? Download our Like a Boss Girls Marketing Plan Worksheet and fill in as many details as you can. Then, you can use that as an outline for your actual Marketing Plan.