Questions to ask when writing a marketing plan
Successful business owners know that it is crucial to plan every aspect of their business. If you are a business owner then the marketing function of your business needs a plan. To simply assume that all you need to do is to throw together some ads and send them out is only a recipe for disaster. You will need to make sure that just like your overall business plan you have a plan to guide your marketing. Your marketing plan will serve as the roadmap for how you plan to promote your business and what it offers. You will also use your marketing plan as a way to chart the progress that you are making toward achieving your marketing goals.
It is important to understand that your marketing plan can be a separate document or it can be part of your business plan. Because of the number of details that writing any type of plan involves many business owners find themselves feeling overwhelmed. However, there are some questions that can help to point you in the right direction and get you started on writing your marketing plan. These questions will help to clarify what you need to focus on. Here are some questions to ask when writing a marketing plan-
- Who is your target market? The first step to take before even beginning to write your marketing plan is to determine who your target market is. Many inexperienced business owners assume that everyone will want to buy their product or service. This is simply not reality. A more realistic assessment is to understand that there will be a certain segment of the population who will be more inclined to buy your product or service. These are the people that you need to find and market your product or service to. You will need to be able to clearly define who your target market is and why they would want to buy from you. When you know this you will be able to show them through your marketing what you have to offer them and why they should buy from your business. The key to finding your target market is taking the time to do sufficient market research which can be done in a number of different ways. Keep in mind that this is a step that should not be rushed through or skipped over since it will determine the basis of your marketing plan.
- What will your marketing message be?Once you know who you will be marketing to then you can determine what your marketing message will be. You will need to have a clear idea of what you want your customers to think of when they consider buying from your business. It is also at this stage of the marketing plan that you will need to determine how you will make your business stand out from the competition. The bottom line is that whatever marketing message that you decide on it needs to be clear, concise, and attention grabbing.
- What value do I offer my customers? Effective marketing is about developing a relationship with your customers. If you are only pushing for sales your customers will soon pick up on it and tire of your marketing efforts. Most likely they will then move on to someone else who they feel cares about their needs and wants. You want to make sure that all of your marketing efforts offer something of value for your customers so that they see your business as the expert in your field and turn to what you offer as the solution for their want or need.