How to Create a Marketing Plan

Although virtually every entrepreneur or business owner has ideas about how to market their company's products or services, few actually have a written marketing plan. Whether your marketing budget is $1,000 or $1,000,000, it makes sense to plan out how, where and when you will spend it throughout the year.

Creating a marketing plan can save you both time and money. For instance, a plan makes it possible for you to buy advertising space in bulk, rather than on a month-by-month basis, providing you with frequency discounts.

A plan also forces you to think through marketing issues thoroughly so that you don't have to keep reevaluating new promotional opportunities as they arise.

Most marketing plans contain the following information:

  • A description of your product or service.

  • An assessment of the current situation your company is facing in the market.

  • An overview of your target market(s).

  • An evaluation of your competition.

  • A rundown of your pricing strategy.

  • An outline of your distribution and sales channels.

  • Your goals for growth during the next one-year and five-year periods.

  • Details of your promotional methods and budget.

In trying to reach your most promising sales prospects, use some of the following marketing methods as part of your plan:

  • Advertising. Promote your company through yellow page ads, classified ads, display ads in newspapers, magazines, and newsletters, and commercials on TV and radio stations.

  • Direct mail. This includes sending printed information to an individual or business in the form of a brochure, postcard, letter or newsletter.

  • Marketing literature. Every company needs some form of printed material to explain their product's or service's capabilities, from a simple tri-fold brochure to a glossy capabilities piece.

  • Premiums. To keep your company name in front of people, give away calendars, pens and pencils, magnets, hats or other items, imprinted with your company's logo.

  • Public relations. Secure free media exposure for your company or product by issuing press releases, writing articles, creating a newsletter, making speeches, or sponsoring a special event.

  • Telemarketing. Installing multiple phone lines, a toll-free number and voicemail are ways of making it easy for customers to reach you.

  • Trade shows. Make contact with suppliers, customers, and distributors at business-to-business or consumer shows.

By putting your marketing objectives down on paper, along with strategies for how you will use the marketing tools available to you, you'll be much farther along in reaching your company's goals for growth.


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