Many small business owners don’t bother to create a marketing plan, and that’s a mistake – a well-crafted marketing plan provides guidance on how, why, and to whom you’ll deploy your marketing message. Though you can choose to make it as long and detailed as you want, there are generally 7 fundamentals elements of a marketing plan that you’ll want to be sure to include.
Introduction/Mission Statement/Vision Statement
Here’s you’ll describe your business and lay out your mission statement and vision statement. The mission statement defines the long-term goals of your business, and serves as a reminder as to why it exists. The vision statement describes what the business’s future looks like once the mission is achieved.
This section describes the present conditions in your industry, along with how your business is currently positioned in it. You’ll want to provide answers to the following questions:
- Who are your competitors and what products and services do they offer?
- What are your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?
- What is the current political, economic, social, and technological climate?
- Where are the opportunities for growth?
In this section you’ll describe the market segments that you’ll be focusing on – examples include people 35 and over, stay-at-home moms, young professional males in your local geographic area, owners of construction companies, etc. Be sure to include your customers’ needs and wants, as well as a description of your company’s ideal customer.
The marketing strategy is your general plan of action in regards to marketing, and serves as the foundation of your marketing plan. It includes answers to the following questions:
- What products and services will you offer?
- What will your pricing strategy be?
- What sales channels will you use? – brick-and-mortar stores, online sales, etc.
- What is your business’s Unique Value Proposition? Why should potential customers buy from you?
In this section you’ll describe the tools and channels you’ll use to market your business, such as advertising, direct mail, public relations, and Internet marketing.
Budget and Action Plan
Here’s where you provide information on the day-to-day tasks you’ll undertake to achieve your marketing goals, as well as the funds to be allocated to them. Don’t know how to establish a marketing budget? The U.S. Small Business Association offers tips on how to do it on its website.
Once you begin implementing your marketing action plan, you need to determine whether or not it’s paying off – that’s where metrics come in. In this section you’ll describe how you’ll measure the results, as well as how you’ll decide where to make improvements, if necessary.
Including the above 7 fundamental elements will provide you with a well-rounded marketing plan that will serve as a valuable tool for your business. And take the time to update it every few years – things change, and you’ll want to make sure that you adjust your marketing goals, strategy, and tactics to the changing environment.