Having the support of investors is critical for many businesses, and the strength of your business plan will reside in the financial planning section. This is where you utilize accountants and the most economically savvy members of your team to provide numbers and statistics. If you are a new business, prepare documents that will discuss targets and estimates for the first few years of operation and any potential investors you desire to work with.
What kind of budget does your company have? Costs that relate to staffing, development, manufacturing, marketing, or anything miscellaneous will make up your budget. Whether your budget is loose or tight, this figure will be a helpful stepping stone in guiding your company to its desired goals. Within the framework of the business plan, you will find a section dedicated to the marketing plan. A marketing plan can also be split out into its own document or plan, rather than just being one section of the business plan.
We highly recommend doing this for reasons we will dive into later. Within this portion of your business plan is where you will work on determining who those consumers are as well as deciding on your marketing goals and strategies, researching your competition in the market and determining what types of marketing channels you will use to educate your audience about the thing s you are offering.
In other words, how will your company stand out from your competitors and grab your audiences attention? Compared to a business plan, a marketing plan is a more comprehensive document that heavily outlines the marketing and advertising efforts of a company. Marketing plans are best used as internal documents, and not to be shared with the general public.
The marketing plan document should change as your business experiences growth, and as new marketing trends emerge. You will have an easier time finding customers and clients if you know who they are and where they are located. Marketing is about having the knowledge of what your product or service is and how it can help a target market.
Whatever your marketing messages are, they need to speak clearly and effectively to your target market. A marketing plan has the following elements:. Your company should be specific about its goals. This can include increasing the email list by a certain number of subscribers over the course of a year, or acquiring a specific number of new clients. One way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing plan is to have a quantifiable goal.
Are you enjoying this post? If so, be sure to subscribe for occasional email updates from our team! When it comes to the marketing positioning of your business, there should be an analysis of the current state of your company prepared. What is currently working with your marketing strategy? What do you find challenging about generating new customers and clients? Doing a SWOT analysis will help with this step of the marketing plan.
This is a section dedicated to research on current market trends, customer needs and demands, sales volumes of the industry, and the expected direction the industry will take. This section is where you define the target market demographics of your business. Whatever your target market is, let that guide you in determining what marketing strategies you will implement.
Where does your market socialize? How can you convince that market to check out your business? Does the majority of your target market use a specific social media platform? For example, if most of your market uses Facebook, then consider launching a Facebook fan page or group for your business. This part of the marketing plan will be easier to execute if members of your team have experience in social media marketing.
Learning how to create a marketing persona will help significantly with this aspect of creating your marketing plan. Any actions that relate to marketing goals, that were scheduled for a specific period of time, should be listed in this section. Have there been any sudden changes to the industry since identifying a desired goal? Will new actions need to be taken as a result of these changes? This is an integral part of the data that your company will need to explain how you are progressing and sometimes not progressing towards your established marketing goals.
A key performance indicator is basically a measuring stick that can illustrate the efficiency of a company when it achieves their objectives. KPIs are often used by companies in their marketing campaigns to determine whether or not they are effectively investing their budget. Customers are not always influenced by only one factor when they purchase products. It takes a combination of factors to entice them to buy. In this section, outline what your product is and what it does.
Provide detail on how much the product will cost, along with where and how you will promote it. What does the competition look like? Which organizations will be directly competing against you in the marketing industry? The strategies of your competitors should be identified in this section.
You should also attach proposed ways to counter your competitors and gain market share. Forming a strategy is simple. Executing that strategy can be very challenging. How will the various strategies work with your marketing plan to accomplish the desired goals?
Promotional strategies, advertising, and other marketing tools your company can use should be highlighted in this section. There is often confusion regarding the difference between goals, strategies and tactics. Consider reading this blog post to come up with appropriate strategies: The Difference Between Marketing Goals, Strategies and Tactics. Along with the general budget you have for your business plan, you should also have a specific marketing budget kept in mind.
Without identifying your marketing budget, it will be impossible to properly carry out marketing activities. The marketing tools you put in place need to be fruitful. A plan should be implemented for monitoring the basic daily functions of your company and how well all members of the team are performing. This plan should also reflect how the industry and the overall business environment are trending. Now that you know what goes into a business plan and a marketing plan, it is important to know the specific purposes of both plans and how they serve the same objectives your company is attempting to achieve.
Oftentimes business owners see the need to create both plans to secure their financing. Banks and investors will ask for both plans before they agree to invest in your company or send any loan money. Your decision-making tool is your business plan. The goals that you have for your business and the target market you intend to reach dictate the content and formats used in this plan. You craft this plan to ask for loans to start a new company or expand one that already exists.
A business plan basically prepares you for the future and gives you a better idea of where your company currently stands and what types of resources and initiatives you need to meet your goals. Your marketing plan is the blueprint that will give you proper instructions on how to achieve your business objectives.
This is a key reference piece that will need to be frequently assessed. Should this plan ever become irrelevant in any way, then it needs to be updated immediately. This plan usually assists the growth of your business by defining the appropriate marketing strategies.
It also integrates business functions to consistently operate. These functions include marketing, sales, production, finance, and human resources. While you are unlikely to create a business plan without including a marketing plan, some business owners do choose to decide on their marketing without diving into an entire business plan.
While there are times when this might be the best idea for your business and only you will be able to determine whether or not that is true for you , having both can be extremely helpful, being that one really compliments the other. Some of the very real benefits you might find of having both plans available to you are:. Your business plan will help you to identify the goals of your company and offer you a path to follow. Depending on your business, measuring marketing effectiveness can be hard.
For example, if you have items for sale on Amazon, it can be hard to know if your social media or your email marketing is generating more sales. But you can measure how many people are responding click from those options. What marketing tactics will you use to reach your market and goals? Let your target market be your guide in deciding what marketing strategies you'll use. Where does your market hangout? How can you entice them to check out your business? For example, if your market spends a lot of time on Facebook, you might consider having a Facebook fan page or group , or perhaps investing in Facebook advertising.
If you're a service business catering to other businesses, you might want to write an article for a newsletter or magazine that targets that same business industry. How much will it cost? This is where you make a budget for your marketing plan. There are many free marketing strategies, although they require time, which is a type of expense.
Will you do home parties or one-on-one consulting, and if so, what will be the cost of travel, mailing of invites, purchasing support materials, etc? Will you pay for advertising or for a mailing list service?
Of all the places to spend money in your home business, marketing is the priority, as long as you're spending wisely and getting a return on your investment. How will you execute your marketing plan? Planning is fairly easy. Carrying out a plan is more of a challenge.
How will you fit in your marketing strategies into your regular business activities? If you're doing social media, will you be using a social media management tool or hire a social media manager? Will you write a blog or create content to share on other websites, such as article marketing? If so, how often will you post or deliver content? You need to do something every day to get your business in front of your market.
You're more likely to do it if you have a plan and fit the plan into your daily schedule. Like a business plan, a marketing plan is a living, breathing document. Analyzing your results and tweaking or changing your marketing strategies is an important task in keeping your marketing plan up to date and having it fulfill its purpose in helping reach your business goals.
Many factors can impact your marketing results and choices including market conditions, demand for your product or service, pricing issues, and new marketing methods i. It's important you stay aware of all of this and adjust your marketing plan accordingly.
Studying your data, such as website analytics , sales numbers, and the trends will give you clues as to what's working and what isn't. Table of Contents Expand. Table of Contents. Purpose of a Marketing Plan. Benefits to a Marketing Plan. How to Create Your Marketing Plan.
Keep Your Marketing Plan up to Date. By Full Bio Follow Linkedin.
Catalogs and marketing materials from your competition are useful. Many industry associations have a great amount of relevant information to use in putting your analysis together. Trade publications and annual reports from public corporations in your industry also contain a wealth of relevant information.
As a customer, what problems do you have that need to be solved? How does the competition work to solve those issues? How could this business solve them better? If you have a clothing store, visit others in your area. Check out websites for pricing and other marketing information.
Follow their Facebook pages. While you can gather a lot of data online, your best information will come from potential customers themselves. Send out surveys, ask for input and feedback, and conduct focus groups. You can do this yourself or hire a market research firm to do it for you. You can start the market analysis section with a simple summary that describes your target customers and explains why you have chosen this as your market.
You can also summarize how you see the market growing, and highlight one or two projections for the future. If your information is dense with numbers and statistics, someone who reads your business plan will probably find it easier to understand if you present it as a chart or graph. You can generate them fairly easily with tools built into Google docs and free infographic apps and software.
Be concise and compelling with the market analysis, and remember that a good graphic can cover a lot of text, and help you make your point. Always relate the data back to your business. As you talk about the needs of your target market, remember to focus on how you are uniquely positioned to fill them. You may have one market that consists of homes and another of small businesses. Perhaps you sell to both wholesale and retail customers.
You will have more of an opportunity to do this in detail later in the plan. Segmentation can help you target specific messages to specific areas, focusing in on the existing needs and how you fill them. Remember to tailor your information to the purpose at hand. If your business plan is for internal use, you may not have to go into as much detail about the market since you and your team may already know it well. This is a great opportunity to get information from outside that might affect your business.
Use this section of your business plan to explain your understanding of your industry, your market and your individual business so that lenders and investors feel comfortable with your possibility for success. Keep the name of this section in mind. Your actual marketing and sales strategy will be included as another very important part of your business plan, however, so as you work on this section, keep that one in mind, and jot down any thoughts and ideas you have for strategies that fit in with what your research teaches you.
Apply for a Loan. Business Plan Section 5: Market Analysis Find out the 9 components to include in the market analysis portion of your business plan, plus 6 sources for market analysis information. Target Market Who have you identified as your ideal client or customer? Market Need What factors influence the need for your product or service? Market Trends You need to take a look at trends the same way you look at population and demographics.
Regulations As we touched on above, you should cover regulations as a barrier to entry. So, where do you start? Research is the key here, and there are several sources available. The Internet Some of the first information you need is about population and demographics: who your potential customers are, how many there are, and where they live or work. Local Chamber of Commerce A lot of local information can be gotten from the chamber of commerce in the area where you plan to operate.
Traditional Market Research While you can gather a lot of data online, your best information will come from potential customers themselves. Apply for a Loan Get Started. It can also act as a source of important information for potential investors who are analyzing your business. You can break down the key information in the marketing strategy section using the 4 Ps of marketing concept.
Product refers to either a physical product or a service you plan on offering. Some of the product areas that should be included in this section are:. This part covers the various aspects of how you plan on marketing your product or service. The areas you will need to address include:. This part addresses the way you plan on pricing your product or service. The aspects of pricing you will need to address are:.
Also known as Distribution, this part is all about the delivery of your product or service to your customer. Here are the areas you will need to cover:. As you write the marketing strategy section of your business plan, keep seven things in mind to make it as effective and relevant as possible. The foundation of your marketing strategy should be your unique selling proposition USP —the statement that outlines what differentiates you from everyone else in the market.
Create your USP first and then build upon it by relating it to each of the 4 Ps. The common thread through each part of your marketing strategy should be how your business solves a problem or meets a need better than anyone else.
The information you include in your marketing strategy should incorporate all of the research you conducted in your market analysis. Make sure you have a clear idea of who your ideal customers or clients are, what they like, what they need, and what they expect. This will make your marketing strategy more accurate and applicable to your target audience. While the 4 Ps of marketing work well for physical products, they may need to be tweaked a bit for services. For example, for the place section, you may use your website instead of a physical location.