Companies need a broad knowledge of their market, customers, and competition to launch an impactful marketing campaign. Without relevant data, businesses rely on guesswork and risk investing in ineffective promotions.
With a small business marketing plan, startups can utilize their internal data to target specific demographics, driving sales, brand exposure, and profits.
The Purpose of a Marketing Plan
First and foremost, a marketing plan is a strategic outline that details how a business should communicate with their target demographics to promote products and services. Marketing plans can have various objectives, from improving a product's turnover rate to boosting overall sales.
There are also several types of marketing plans-
- Customer acquisition plan
By developing an impactful marketing plan, small businesses can determine where they fit within their market and how to capitalize on their niche. While every company has its own strengths and weaknesses, an effective marketing plan will identify the key selling points. This enables businesses to take advantage of the unfulfilled demand by providing unique goods and services.
A small business marketing strategy takes the guesswork out of planning for milestones and expansion. By analyzing marketing performance, organizations can determine where they can improve promotions, customer reach, and sales strategies.
10 Elements of a Small Business Marketing Plan
A successful marketing plan is tailored to a business's model, products, and sales channels, making it difficult for competitors to mimic. However, companies can begin creating a marketing plan by focusing on the 10 critical elements-
1. Executive Summary
An executive summary discloses a business's goals and overall marketing strategy to stakeholders. This report is often drafted after the marketing plan is completed, covering all of the strategy's essential elements. The executive summary is often the only thing stakeholders read and, therefore, should be concise yet informative.
2. Mission Statement
A business's mission statement expresses its values and long-term goals. The mission statement often attracts like-minded people with similar moral and ethical standards. Therefore, companies should ask themselves-
- What is the purpose of the company?
- What is important to the business?
- What is the work environment like?
- How does the business benefit from consumers and employees?
3. Target Markets
By identifying target demographics, organizations can tailor promotions for responsive buyers rather than investing in advertisements that may not perform well. To determine the target markets, the marketing team should learn-
- Customer demographics (age, genders, income, education, region)
- Customer preferences and interests
- Psychographic profiles (attitudes, value, philosophies, lifestyle)
- Popular products and services
4. Products and Services
Instead of merely listing products and services, businesses should think about the value each item brings to the customer by asking-
- What want or need does the product satisfy?
- What are the consumers' needs?
- How does the product fulfill the requirement?
- What types of products or services could be added?
5. Distribution Channels
Once all of the specifications are lined out, it is time to begin developing an actual strategy. Distribution channels, also known as sales channels, refer to the different ways a business can reach customers or other companies.
Companies can use one or multiple channels, however, utilizing more channels means more consumers are exposed to a brand. Therefore, companies should consider which distribution channels are the most relevant to their target markets.
Typical sales channels include-
- Traditional retail stores
6. Competitive Profile
Many businesses implement unique selling propositions (USPs) into their marketing strategies to promote sales. A USP separates a business's products from its competitors by emphasizing a unique feature or stance, creating a competitive edge. Successful USP relies on the company's ability to differentiate their goods from others.
To create a competitive profile, companies need to cross-examine their strengths and weaknesses against competitors'. This helps determine what areas the company can capitalize on to attract customers.
7. Pricing Strategy
Finding the right pricing strategy is crucial in developing an effective marketing plan. Management needs to consider their current and forecasted finances to determine which pricing strategy can optimize sales and profits. Some key questions to ask include-
- What are reasonable profit margins to expect from products?
- What is the cost of production?
- Is there a market for all products and services?
- What are the advertising and distribution costs?
- Is the business willing to sacrifice profit margins for a better market share?
A marketing plan needs to revolve around a specific goal related to market penetration or increasing income. The objectives also need to align with the business's mission statement and values. Some elements management should consider include-
9. Action Plans
Once all of the goals are set, the marketing team needs to plan all of the logistical details, including-
- Employee responsibilities
When developing a plan of action, management needs to pinpoint potential obstacles and solutions. This helps prevent disruptions that can delay deadlines and goals.
10. Financial Forecasts
Lastly, companies must create a marketing budget by mapping out the cost of promotions, labor, and return on investment (ROI). Businesses should also consider-
- Forecasted sales and demand
- Desired profit margins and sales