Jump to Main Content
USA flagAn Official Website of the United States Government
Industry Word

Blogs.Industry Word

Register

Do You Have A Marketing Plan?

Comment Count:
32

Comments welcome on this page. See Rules of Conduct.

Do You Have A Marketing Plan?

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: July 1, 2014

Does your small business have a marketing plan? A study by Marketo shows that companies with a documented marketing plan are more likely to be satisfied with their marketing efforts. As you might expect, however, smaller companies are less likely than large ones to have marketing plans. Overall, slightly more than one-third of the companies polled don’t have a marketing plan. But only 56 percent of small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) have one, while among companies with over 1,000 employees, 81 percent have one.

Marketing plans aren’t the only thing that some companies are missing. Although 71 percent of respondents say they sometimes or always meet their marketing goals, 23 percent admit they don't have specific marketing goals. As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?

Clearly, creating a marketing plan makes a big difference in achieving your goals. Here’s what you should include in your marketing plan:

1.     Who are your target customers? Do your market research to understand where your target customers live, their demographics (age, sex, marital status, income, etc.), their spending habits and anything else that makes them ideally suited for your product or service.

2.     Who are your competitors? Which companies compete with you for your ideal customers? How do they market themselves, what are their Unique Selling Propositions (USP) and what differentiates your business from theirs? How will you need to market your business to stand out from the competition?

3.     Where do your target customers get their information? To determine what marketing methods and channels will work best for you, you need to know, for example, if your target customers read newspapers or get news online, use social media or don’t even know what that is, watch TV or listen to the radio and what websites/publications/stations they read, watch and listen to.

4.     What are your marketing goals? If you’re launching a brand-new product, your goal might simply be to raise awareness of what you sell and build your brand name. If you’ve got a long-standing business with a well-established brand, your goal could be to sell more to existing customers. Be sure your goals are measurable—not just “to sell more” but “to increase sales to existing customers by 10 percent per quarter” or other specific numbers.

5.     How will you market the business? Based on your understanding of point #3, your marketing plan should list the different marketing and advertising methods you’ll use, such as social media, print advertising, online advertising, event marketing, etc.

6.     What’s your marketing budget? It’s important to set a budget for your marketing plan. Measure what you actually spend against your budget forecast.

7.     How will you measure success and how often? Marketing takes time to work, so don’t assume that a campaign isn’t worth the money if you don’t see immediate results. However, it’s a good idea to measure results quarterly and see which marketing tactics are working best (or not working at all). That way you can redistribute your budget as needed.

Review your overall marketing plan at least once a year. Today, the world of marketing is changing at lightning speed, and your business needs to keep up.

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily.com to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She's been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades

Comments:

Who are your target customers? (Who + Level) – (What) – (Why) ?
We started out with a 1 sentence marketing plan. Over time it has become critical to revise and flesh it out. Great article.
Plan and analysis is a must do every company have. Every decision should have any written plan before you go.
Hard to have a marketing plan without suggesting a person create a "web marketing" plan too. There are more than 100 ways to generate traffic to a website. Rank each by cost, speed, if you can do the task yourself versus having to pay someone else, and expected ROI and you'll have your web traffic building plan ready to roll inside of 24 hours.
Marketing needs great planning. If you have to establish in this domain then you will have to acquire some special character and point of view. Nice to see this post, it increased my idea about marketing as well. Thanks
Marketing Plan is crucial to the successful progression of a company and in agreement to the author, Rieva Lesonky, I would like to add that the world of marketing is changing in lighning fast speeds due to the emergence of online marketing. It is absolutely essential that the market is properly targetted with a evolving marketing plan to be successful.
Thank you for this outline. It is a starting point to develop a marketing plan. I have years experience marketing companies, and this is a very succinct and complete outline for beginners.
So Good I agree
marketing plan so important for a company
Rieva, Thank you for this outline and starting point to develop my marketing plan. I have had formal marketing education in my MBA program but with that nearly 8 years ago a primer like this is wonderful!

Pages

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to leave comments. If you already have an SBA.gov account, Log In to leave your comment.

New users, Register for a new account and join the conversation today!