Robert Kiyosaki, in his bestseller “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” talked about an incident when a writer approached him for advice on selling her book. Kiyosaki told her to change her title into something catchier, something with more “pop”, something that will appeal better to the masses. The writer who felt her artistic freed had just been insulted, was outraged. “This is a well-written book! I will not make changes.” “Oh,” Kiyosaki said casually. “I know I’m in no position to critique your writing. I am not a best-writing author. But I am a best-selling author.”
Sales. At the end of the day, even the best product or service needs to be marketed well in order for business to thrive. So many business owners neglect the marketing part of their trade; the assume that quality productw will sell themselves. But while making sure that you’re coming up with A+ wares help in turning a profit, you need a good business and marketing plan in order to actually put money in your pocket
What is a business and marketing plan?
Put simply, a business and marketing plan is a roadmap that documents what your business is, what your business hopes to achieve, and what marketing strategy you plan to apply in order to meet your business objectives. Included in a business and marketing plan are information about your target consumers, how you plan to stand out from the competition, the marketing mix (also known as the 4 P’s: product, price, place and promotion) and how much money you plan to invest on your marketing needs.
If you are a newbie at marketing, worry not. Writing a business and marketing plan is not rocket science. It does, however, require a lot of thought, foresight, research and creativity.
What do you need to consider when making a business and marketing plan?
Consider the following 3 Main Parts of a Business and Marketing Plan:
Information about the Current Market
How is the industry doing right now, and where do you see your business amidst the fray? Perhaps the market is thriving, and you want to go out and challenge the current leader. Or perhaps the market is weak, but your product and service is such an innovation, it’s guaranteed to find loyal consumers. Or the market is awesome, and your product needs more tweaking in order to sell well.
Don’t just be guided by your gut instinct; do the research. What is the profile of your target market: age, socio-economic class, preferences and general buying behavior? Who are your competitors, and how are they doing? Having this information on hand can help you in planning the best marketing strategy that will benefit your business.
Consider the case of General Motors (GM) in the 70s. At its inception, Ford was the market leader. They produced a great selling car called the Model T. The only problem: the car was only available in black. GM saw and responded to the demand for individuality among car owners. They sold cars in a variety of colors. The simple decision helped GM eat up Ford’s market share!
Your marketing strategy outlines your tactics in responding to threats and opportunities you’ve identified in your market study. Is your product and service well-differentiated enough to justify higher pricing than the average? Should you serve the current market or look for underserved niches? Do you use direct marketing with attractive salespersons, or do you take out an ad in the local classified? Brick and mortar world or e-business? Your business and marketing plan must include your specific game in making it in the world of commerce.
Lastly, you need to spell out how exactly your marketing strategies will be turned into reality. Branding your business, for example, is a marketing strategy that needs a lot of careful study. Your brand equates to your presence in the market; it must be comprehensive enough that it tells people everything they need to know about you, but punchy enough that it sticks in people’s minds. Your action program may start with first consulting with a branding specialist, brainstorming with your team members, market-testing a brand idea. In this part of your business and marketing plan, you need to know what will be done, when it will be done, how it will be done, who would do it, and how much it will cost.
Remember marketing is your main chance to connect with potential and current customers! Deliberation pays off — there’s nothing like the joy of seeing satisfied customers and hearing the ding of the cash register!