The purpose of the Marketing Plan in a business plan is to show your reader that you know how to sell your product. After all, it’s sales that will keep you in business.
Break up your Marketing Plan into the following sections and work on them one at a time. This will help you to cover all the important points without becoming overwhelmed by the amount of information you need to put together.
Your Position in the Market
Before you write the Marketing Plan for your business plan, you should have already completed both a Customer Analysis and a Competitive Analysis. From this, you can determine your position in the marketplace:
- The market is an attractive one and you are one of the leaders.
- The market is an attractive one but you are one of the weaker providers.
- The market is not very attractive but your company is one of the leaders.
- The market is not very attractive and your company is one of the weaker providers.
This look at your position in the market tells you how you need to devote resources to either improve your ability to command market share or exploit your current abilities. Knowing this information allows you to develop your market strategy.
Define Your Market Strategy
Your market strategy in the Marketing Plan section of your business plan explains how you plan to take advantage of your place in the market–or to improve your position. This is where you’ll show whether you can gain an advantage through lower prices, higher quality products or services, or offering products that are different enough from the others on the market to make your company the most attractive.
Setting Your Pricing Strategy
Your pricing strategy is a very important part of the Marketing Plan section of your business plan. How you price your products is crucial. Price them too high and no one will buy them. Price them too low and you won’t make enough of a profit. Charging too little for your product can have another problem as well: consumers may think your quality is not as high as your higher-priced competition.
Your pricing strategy needs to justify how you price your products, including what the Cost of Goods (what the product cost you), overhead costs, the amount of profit you need to make to keep your business going and the willingness of the market to pay that price for that product.
Developing a Promotion Plan
All of the analysis you have done on your products and the marketplace are what you do before you sell your product. Once you’re ready to sell, you need to have a plan for how you will promote what you sell. Having the best product in the world that everyone wants and setting the perfect price for it won’t help much if the public does not know about you. What will your advertising budget be, and what is the best way to spend that budget to get the most exposure for the least amount of money?
Developing a Market Influences Section for Your Business Plan
There is one factor that can affect your business over which you have no control. The market is sometimes influenced by things like changes in government, shifts in the stock market and natural disasters–just to name a few. In the Market Influences section of your Marketing Plan, address not only what factors could potentially have an impact on the market and therefore the sale-ability of your product, but what you’ll do to counteract them.
The Marketing Plan in a business plan should bring all of your analysis together and make it work for you in selling your product. You’ll show your reader that you’ve done your research and know what to do with what you learned.
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