What Is a Marketing Plan?

Unfortunately, if you build it they will come doesn’t apply to selling your product. Interesting new customers in an unknown brand or product requires strategy. Read on to learn what is a marketing plan and how to outline yours.

Your marketing plan will help you assess customer demand, discover distribution channels and pinpoint the best ways to market your business.

Before starting to write, you need to do some market research. You can hire a firm to conduct your market research or do it yourself. Through this research you’ll learn about your competitors, customers, market and your product. Your goal is to know as much as possible about your product’s world. Once you understand that, it’s time to work on your marketing plan.

What is a marketing plan? A marketing plan is the road map to how your product will move out into the world. Not only will it lay out what you want to accomplish, but it will also explain how you plan to achieve your goals.

Your marketing plan will consist of 9 parts:

Executive summary: No matter what kind of plan I’m writing, I like to write the summary last. Your summary should contain the most important points from each section, capture the reader’s attention and be polished to perfection.

Company: This is where you explain what your company stands for. Use it to introduce yourself as owner and outline your company’s goals and values.

Product: Tell the reader about your product, including what makes it unique, superior or more in demand than your competitors’ products. Back your statements up with hard facts.

Customers: Use this section to describe your target customers. One of the easiest ways to do this is simply imagine your ideal customer. Describe her life and what she wants from a product like yours.

Competitors: This section outlines who else is trying to reach your customers and what competitive advantages they have.

Delivery: How will your customers acquire your product? Will they buy it in a retail store, order it from a catalogue or buy it directly from you online or in person?

Reach: Here is where you explain how you will reach your customers. Plan your budget for each medium and how much time you will spend on each.

Handling challenges: New business challenges arise all the time, but if you’re prepared you can overcome them. Outline some roadblocks you could face and how you will handle them.

Pricing: This section lets you explain your product pricing strategy. Outline the cost of your product, your profit margin and your retail and wholesale prices. If your price is higher or lower than others in your niche, explain you rationale.

Your business plan will change with the life of your business. As customers’ tastes change, new competitors enter the market and old ones retire, you’ll need to update your plan.

Choose a refresh date 6 months in the future to evaluate your plan: what worked, what didn’t and what new directions do you want to take.

Now that you know what is a marketing plan I hope you’ll start writing your own. While having a plan won’t guarantee sales, it will help you set yourself up to meet your goals.