Marketing Plan for Small Business

Small Business Marketing PlanA marketing plan for small business, can truly transform your business.  At its smallest contribution, a marketing plan can start you thinking about aspects of your business that you hadn’t before.  At its best, it will increase your sales, customer base and strengthen your brand.

Unfortunately, marketing planning as important as it is to your business, may get left by the wayside for one reason or another, usually lack of time.  But as with anything, understanding that a little planning can actually help save you time, money and heartbreak, the marketing plan is an excellent way to decide on which direction you want to take your business, particularly with where you will spend your money with advertising and promotion.

So, why do we need a marketing plan, here are some of the reasons?

  • Establish what economic and business environment you are experiencing.
  • What opportunities and problems are you facing?
  • What business objectives do you expect to achieve?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Why should they buy your product/service over others?
  • How will you communicate your product/service to your customers?
  • Who will do that and when?
  • How are you going to measure your progress so you can learn from the experience?

By working with a marketing plan you will immediately see the benefits – in increase in your business success and profits.   You will understand your markets and customers.  This is important so that you can spend your scarce marketing time and budget in all the right places. You will also increase your customer brand awareness.

Customers are no longer a given – just because you make it or sell it doesn’t mean anyone will buy it.   Your customer must be central to your entire thinking process when considering your marketing plan.  You will need to try to find out what people want and then you deliver it to them profitably.

It is vital to know intimately what your customer wants. Marketing planning provides a road map to delivering true value to different and distinct groups of customers.  All successful marketing strategies begin and end with the customer.  One of the most common problems I see in small business,  is people develop a product and then try to find the customers – this is back to front.

There are 2 main components of the marketing plan that I like to create – the situation analysis and the action plan.

The Situation Analysis: 

This is the major focus of any marketing plan and where most of the work and research lies.  It is a factual document that analyzes the information that you have gathered in preparation for writing the marketing action plan.

It should answer key questions:

  • What economic and business environments are you experiencing?
  • What opportunities and problems are you facing?
  • We look at your operating environment – the external forces that you are faced with on a day to day level
  • How is your brand perceived by your customers?
  • Your competitive position within your operating market.
  • Look at current marketing, advertising or public relations programs you have in place – do you know how successful they have been?

The marketing action plan:

Lays out the objectives, strategies for a specific time frame – usually a year. It answers some of these questions:

  • What business objectives do you expect to achieve?
  • What customers will you target your customers?
  • How will you communicate your product/service to your customers?
  • Who will do that and when?
  • How are you going to measure your progress so you can learn from the experience?
  • What tactics will I use?

If this all sounds a bit complicated, I assure you, you may be pleasantly surprised and what you find out.  All of your findings are positive, even if it is what you don’t want to hear.