By Alan Graner
If you’re a typical entrepreneur or small business you don’t have a written marketing plan because, well, you think it’s too complicated, takes too long or requires specialized knowledge. Or, it simply may be you don’t know where to start.
Truth is, marketing plans don’t have to be long and complicated. They can be as short as a few pages.
At the very least, your marketing plan should summarize your marketplace including threats and opportunities for you and your competitors, and the steps you’ll take to achieve your goals.
Here are some basics you should consider.
A common outline we’ve used to write marketing plans at Daly-Swartz Public Relations typically includes:
- Listing your products/services
- Describing the specific benefits of your products/services
- Describing the types of businesses you expect to use your products/services
- Determining how often they might need your services
- Determining your unique sales propositions (USPs) that differentiate your products/services from your competitors
- Analyzing your marketplace
- Analyzing your competitors
- Planning your marketing strategies and tactics
- Establishing your positioning in the marketplace
- Writing your brand message
- Determining how you plan to attract new customers
- Establishing a budget large enough to achieve your marketing goals
In assessing your current situation you should:
- Determine the resources you have available
- Analyze your company’s internal strengths and weaknesses (SWOT Analysis)
- Assess the competition and the competitive environment
- Assess your environment (e.g., social, economic, political, technological, environmental, legal)
- Identify critical issues you need to address
Source: Go “Back to the Future” with Strategic Marketing Plans
You can’t achieve your goals if you don’t have any. To set your objectives, ask yourself:
- Do you want to increase revenues? Add more customers? Reduce costs? Become a global company?
- Do you thoroughly understand your 5 Cs: Consumer, Channel, Company, Competition, Climate?
- Have you established SMART objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound to help you reach your goals?
Source: How to Write a Marketing Plan
What key elements have I missed?
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Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business public relations and marketing content firm. For content that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.dsprel.com.