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Developing a marketing plan is the second step in developing a new business, product or service. Doing your market research is first. The benefits of having a well-thought out marketing plan are numerous. A marketing plan will help define business goals and develop ways to achieve those goals. First, gather a few things you’ll need to assist you in developing a marketing plan:

Marketing book and/or other information you’ve gathered on your market
Planning books
Business plan software (not essential, but helpful)
Database software
Spreadsheet software

You need to describe your unique selling (known as USP,) define your target market (this is where your previous market research comes in handy,) describe the benefits of your product or service, and define your marketing methods (will you advertise, use the internet for marketing, direct marketing or public relations?)

The steps for developing a marketing plan:

1. Describe your product in detail.

2. Identify your target audience/market (this is where your previous market research will come in handy.) Who will your product appeal to the most? What age group? What types of products similar to yours’ have done well in the past? Jot down as many questions as you can think of as they come to mind.

Who are your competitors and how does your product or service compare to theirs? Study how your competition markets their product.

Decide how you will market (advertise) your product/service. If you’re selling a product, decide the price and why? If you’re developing a service, which features will you focus on the most?

In your marketing plan, you will want to describe your daily operations. Include your plan for handling customer service, the physical location of your business, how much time you’ll spend on it, what type of team you need, proposed credit and sales terms.

Prepare a proposed financial statement based on the projection of sales, operating costs and other expenses. It’s best to include these figures for at least 3 years in the future.


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