Getting Started - Marketing Plan Development

Getting your product or service to market requires knowledge, creativitiy, energy and guts. When you embark on your dream of becoming your own boss, marketing is one of the biggest pieces of the startup company pie. Here’s a basic outline or checklist of the first three steps in marketing your company, service, or product:

1. Create a Marketing Plan Definition: An essential blueprint for success.
Why: Confirm that there is a market for your product or service before investing time, energy or money into your idea.
Where: Research online, at the library, bookstore, local SBA, local community college, local Chamber of Commerce, speak to experts, experienced mentors, or other business owners like you.
What: Goals and objectives including a specific description of your product or service, its benefits to your target market, your customer demographics, price structure and profitability, competition, promotion venues and media, and your overall budget.

2. Define a Strategy Definition: The tipping point, stickiness, or distinction.
Why: If you’re just another brick in the wall, why would consumers or businesses buy from you? What makes you stand out and above your competition.
Where: In every promotion, advertisement and public view from your business card to your storefront or venue.
What: Includes your brand, your guarantee, your advertising and promotional schedule

3. Plan a Budget Definition: How much can you spend on advertising and where will you spend it.
Before you can get a customer to buy from you, they need to know you exist and that costs money.
Where: List of advertising media to be used and an estimate of costs for each
What: Logo, stationery, cards, direct mail, website, billboards, radio, TV, newspaper, magazines, events, trade shows, and other useful advertising and promotional methods

Design your marketing plan in writing. Include your short and long term goals, and include the strategy you’re planning to use in order to achieve those goals. As with each part of your business plan, the marketing portion requires time and effort to create, and needs to be revisited from time-to-time during the first year and subsequent years in business.

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