Build a Market Plan
Build a Market Plan is Part Three of the Business Planning Series of Articles.
A successful business always has a marketing plan. Whether the business is, large or small time was taken to Build a Market Plan.
A Market Plan is a key part of your business plan, and as with a business plan a Market Plan is a guide to your businesses future. When you Build a Market Plan, the plan should cover a period of at least one year to start and broken down into quarterly segments.
How Do You Build a Market Plan
Don’t expect to build a plan and get instant results, marketing takes work it involves time and money. A good solid marketing plan prepares your business and aids in positioning your product or service in the market.
One of the first steps need to build a market plan is to refer to your business plan Business Planning for Success
How much will you charge for your product or service, and what is your budget for advertising, product or service promotion.
Note: Always monitor the return on your investment. Watch your budget closely, it is easy to spend on advertising and get little or no return.
However, a SWOT Analysis is the best way to see how you compare to your competition and understanding this will secure your position for success.
Strengths: how these will these give your business the competitive advantage.
Weaknesses: can affect your position in the market and understanding this gives you a tool to use to your advantage by turning that weakness into a strength.
Opportunities: are everywhere, and you can use these to expand your market and potentially increase your customer base.
Threats: are always changing and being alert to these can give you that competitive advantage to put your business out in front.
Use your SWOT to assist in creating your market plan.
What is your product or service, write down a clear description of your product or service, describe what makes it unique and how it gives you a competitive edge and makes you stand out.
This description will assist you in how you will get the attention of your market niche.
Next you require an understanding of your target market and what position your business is within your market niche. To gain an understanding you need to research your market; you can start by testing your market for their response to your product or service conduct surveys, send out emails, or do letter drops.
Your Customer Base
Customers, this can cover a broad range so you can be general. List these characteristics, age, gender, social status, education, social activities, values, needs, and what are their interests.
Identify your key customers, this is where you drill down further into the list you have just made. Again make a list, look at particular characteristics of these customers, and in the process identify who your key customers will be.
Customer management, how will you develop a relationship and then maintain that with your customers?
The best customer is a returning one, how will you get your customers to come back?
Identify your market share. Calculating market share is almost an industry in itself and can take years of researching market trends of you and your customers. Don’t get overly concerned at this stage, with the information you have collected so far make your best guess on what you feel your percentage of your niche market is.
Do you know your competition
List at least five competitors
• Their name.
• When were they established
• What is their size (staff and approx revenue)
• Market share (estimated their percentage of the market)
• Uniqueness (what do they do better than you i.e. convenience, quality, price or services offered)
• Strengths (what strengths does your competition have)
• Weaknesses (what weaknesses does your competition have)
You can even do a basic SWOT analysis on your competition.
You have now identified with your market and understand how you can fill a niche. Now it’s time to look at promotion and advertising options.
What promotion or advertising is available to you, it could include. Printed media advertising, Online advertising, Emails, SMS, Letter Drops, Media releases, Social media or events such as Trade shows or conventions.
Choose two preferred marketing methods. Once you have decided on a promotion or advertising methods, look at your budget, and at the reasons why you have chosen this type, analyze and review, get a second opinion. A second opinion is always a good thing they may pick up something you have overlooked or even add fresh ideas.
Now you have confirmed the type of marketing and the channel to use look at the cost is it within your budget revise your budget if you can afford the extra cost. If you cannot change your budget because of limited funds, go to your second choice and review the cost again. If not look at an alternative, keep doing this until you are comfortable with the method and cost.
Write your plan
You should have enough information to write a plan, as with any market change is constant. Regularly review your market watch for changes and trends and update your plan to reflect this.
Remember a new gadget has a short life span and your customers are always after something new, be alert to what they want, and you are a winner.
Online tools are available, investing in these can give your business that professional edge to keep you out well in front of your competition, find out more by reading our page Online Plan Reviews
While this article only touches on the basics, a full blown marketing plan can take months to put together and is based on years of market research data. The information provided here while basic should be enough to get you started and give your business the competitive edge needed while starting out.
About Darren Wilkins
Darren is a semi-retired senior executive and serial entrepreneur who runs a number, of successful businesses both online and offline.
With 30+ years experience in management and as a management consultant Darren has a can-do attitude and offers real practical advice that can be used for any business no matter the size, Darren is using his time focusing on online opportunities and building better businesses.
With global experience managing and directing multimillion-dollar mega construction projects and businesses. Darren has a wealth of practical experience to share and wants to help you and your business.