Buzz Marketing and SEO - Creating a marketing plan

Article Index

Here’s the marketing plan sections you’ll be writing:

  • Overview or Summary – no longer than one page, the summary should briefly describe your business and the major points of your plan (so write it last)
  • Situation analysis – a detailed and brutally honest assessment of your market, your competitors, and the opportunities and challenges for your business
  • Marketing strategy – your specific business revenue goals, as well as a strategy for tackling the market opportunities you identified in the situation analysis
  • Marketing tactics – your action plan for executing on the strategy you outlined in the previous section
  • Marketing budget and timeline – the projected costs and timeline related to your marketing tactics
  • Situation analysis

Simply put, your situation analysis is the foundation of your marketing plan, and gives a clear “lay of the land” for your market and business. Remember all of that market research and competitive analysis you did for your business plan?  The good news is, you get to use it again!  For your situation analysis, clearly define:

  • Your potential customers, including current market size and projected growth
  • Your competitors, including current and projected market share, and product or market segment focus
  • Your realistic assessment of your own business, including both strengths and weaknesses, with a summary of your plan to overcome the weaknesses

When you decided to start your business, you undoubtedly found an unmet or underserved need in your target market, and felt that you could address that need.  The marketing strategy section is where you actually spell out how your business is going to do just that, by setting goals and high-level strategies. Start by setting the goals for your business, typically for at least one year.  Make them realistic, achievable and measurable.  No sense in setting yourself up for failure right out of the gate. 

Wrap up the strategy section of your marketing plan by outlining the particulars of your business offering - in marketing parlance, you'll be defining what are known as the "four Ps" for your business:

  • Product – description of your product or service, including features and benefits
  • Price – initial pricing strategy
  • Place – distribution channel for your product or service, i.e. where you’ll sell
  • Promotion – the methods and channels used to reach customers and let them know about your product or service

To take your marketing plan to yet another level of detail, you’ll dream up some tactics to actually meet the goals you set in the previous section. Common marketing tactics include advertising (print, online, radio, etc.), trade show or event attendance/participation, public relations, grassroots and viral marketing campaigns and email marketing. As you choose your tactics, summarize what it is, why you should use it, what you expect to get out of it, and how much it’s going to cost.   Finally, set a timeline for each tactic and pick a team member to champion getting it done.

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