By Kevin Scanlan
Certified SCORE Mentor
What’s your marketing strategy? To have a successful business, you need a marketing plan. A marketing plan can help you raise awareness of your business, attract more customers and boost sales. Here are some elements you can use to create a well thought out marketing plan:
Review of Your Market
Develop a description of your business, your market/business environment, any distinct advantages and disadvantages your business has in the marketplace, your marketing challenges, the location of your competition, your competitions’ weaknesses and any outside influences that could impact your business.
Identify Your Target Customers
Who are your typical customers (age, gender, marital status, family status, socio-economic status, profession, etc.)? What do they want? What motivates them to buy? How do potential customers typically purchase your type of product? Do you have a niche in the market that will attract a specific type of customer?
Establish Marketing and Sales Goals
Goals should be sensible, measurable, achievable and realistic. Goals should also be time–specific, typically annual for an established business, and shorter for a start-up.
Strategies and Tactics
What is your marketing message? How will you market your product? What marketing tools will you use? What marketing tactics will use to meet your goals?
Once your plan is complete, what will it cost to implement it? There may be some one–time expenses for creation and development of your marketing material. There will likely be ongoing marketing expenses such as maintaining a website, advertising, print materials, signs and window displays, trade shows, speaking engagements, social media, and membership in professional and business organizations.
It’s important to know what it costs you to acquire a customer from the various marketing sources you use. This will help you decide which marketing channels are worth continuing and which don’t produce an appropriate return on investment (ROI).
A benchmark commonly used to determine where to invest marketing dollars is the 80/20 Rule — 80% of your marketing budget should be invested in proven, result producing marketing initiatives and 20% of your budget can be used to test new marketing strategies and approaches.
The Chicago SCORE website www.score.chicago.org has several on-demand webinars that can assist you in developing your marketing plan/strategy. There is no cost to take these courses. If I can be of assistance regarding this topic or any aspect of starting a business or growing an existing business, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.