The success of any business largely depends upon the ability to provide the right product, at the right price, in the right place using the right promotion and employing the right people to get the job done.
These five factors - sometimes referred to as the 5 P's - are called the marketing mix and together they form the basis of any business marketing activities.
Similar to the way a company develops a business plan to steer its future growth, it's also a good idea to develop a marketing plan to ensure marketing activities are clearly mapped out to meet the business's objectives and financial constraints.
There are five basic steps to take in preparing a marketing plan and here are some starting suggestions:
1. Objectives and Assumptions: State realistic objectives and assumptions about your business. The objectives could include milestones to achieve in customer service, product quality and value for money.
2. SWOT Analysis: Using the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of your business plan, assess how your market position has been achieved.
3. Strategic Plan: Produce a broad marketing plan.
4. Tactical Plan Formulation: Outline what marketing activities need to be carried out keeping in mind the budgetary constraints of the business.
5. Performance Review: Make sure that you can measure the outcomes of your marketing activities.
Questions to ask while developing your business's marketing plan include:
1. What does my product mean to the market place from a technical and sales perspective?
2. Where can my product be sold and how should it be distributed?
3. What are the most effective ways my product can be promoted - for example advertising, point of sale, telephone directory?
4. What are the most effective pricing structures for my business?
5. What are the personal skills, qualities...