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Developing a marketing plan for your new business

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Developing a marketing plan is one of the first things you need to put in place when establishing a new business. There’s no point selling an excellent product or service if no one knows about you. If you’re putting together a plan, what points should you be considering?

Do Your Research

Any good marketing strategy starts with strong market research. What you learn here will have an impact on how you target your customers and the mediums you use to convey your messages. Your research should look in-depth at the whole of the market, including potential customers and competitors and where you fit in. For example, do you offer a better quality product or have lower prices? Knowing what sets you apart from the competition will help you sell your business more effectively.

developing a marketing plan for your new business

Who’s Your Audience?

Once you’ve completed your research you should have a better idea on who your target market is. However, even if you have a wide ranging audience, you shouldn’t just scatter your messages across them all. A more successful marketing approach is to direct different messages to specific customers: what’s appropriate for a stay at home mum might not appeal to a single working woman. If you break down your customers into different groups, you’ll have a much more targeted and effective approach.

What Do You Want To Achieve?

Depending on the area you work within, you need to establish what your marketing is designed to achieve. Do you want to increase online transactions, develop more referrals and leads or increase sales for a new product or service? This will then have an impact on what types of marketing activity you invest in.

What Messages Do You Want To Communicate?

Marketing messages need to be clear and simple and instantly inform the customer about how your product will benefit them. You need to establish what makes you unique, whether it’s technology, pricing or availability. Consumers are inherently lazy and want to be told how a product will make their lives better or easier without putting in too much effort.

Don’t try and clutter up your marketing by communicating too many messages in one place. Instead of being more effective it will actually limit the impact of your materials and could end up confusing the customer. If you’ve got a number of points you want to make, try and spread them out over different pieces or see what messages work best and concentrate on these.

What Mediums to Use?

No new business can afford to cover all the different marketing angles, so you need to consider what will work best for you. Think about your target audience and what will appeal to them. There’s no point appearing in a top selling publication if it’s not read by your customers. When you’ve narrowed down the list you need to work on the areas that are most cost effective.

There are a wide range of marketing mediums and the costs associated with them vary considerably. Your plan needs to look into all the areas, including adverts, leaflets, direct mail, online, social media, articles and advertorials, and decide which are most likely to be used by your audience.

developing a marketing plan for your new businessWhere you place your marketing will also depend on the budget you have.  Any marketing plan should include a detailed budget, showing the costs and potential returns on investment for each option. Your plan needs to have some degree of flexibility within it, in order that you can take advantage of last minute opportunities. Therefore you should include a contingency element within the budget to allow for this.

Evaluation

Your marketing plan needs to be developed on a regular basis, quarterly or annually, but it shouldn’t be set in stone. A good plan is one that adapts as opportunities arise or when ideas haven’t worked. Once your marketing is up and running you need to continue to research and evaluate, so that you can see what works.

The evaluation should include measurements to determine what projects were successful. These can include an increase in website traffic, more sales or enquiries or greater profits. If something didn’t work then you need to learn from this and try a different approach.

No business can function without a marketing plan and you need to see it as a constantly evolving document. If you spend time getting this element right, it will help to develop your business in the future.

 

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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