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Marketing Strategies Outlined

Outlining marketing strategies in a business plan is an excellent tool that will help even the smallest business owner stay organized and on track for success.

The Marketing Strategies you intend to implement will be a very important section of your formal business plan and should address the following core questions:

How you will promote your business?
How you will get your product or service to your customers?
What will promotion and distribution of your products/services cost?
How you will measure the effectiveness of the methods you plan to use?

Once you've completed the Market Analysis section of your business plan, you'll know more about your customers, your competition, and your company. That information should make writing the Marketing Strategy section of your business plan easier. If you are looking to obtain financing from an outside source a detailed marketing plan will help potential lenders/investors clearly understand what your attack plan is and how you intend on making it a reality.

Your marketing plan needs to discuss all the ''weapons'' in your marketing arsenal and what roles each will play.  Many marketers call this your ''marketing mix'' and have labelled the fundamental components, the ''5 P's of Marketing''.  Here they are with the main questions that your marketing plan should raise, and answer.

Product – What product or service is your business is offering? What does your product/service do and what are its technical specifications?  What sets it apart from those of your competitors? What problem can it solve for potential customers and benefit their lives?

Price – How you will price your product/service so that the price remains competitive but allows you to make a good profit? How will your price compare to that of your competitors? How will this respond to your fixed and variable expenses?  How long before you recoup your initial investment and break even?  How will profits be re-invested, and on what facets of the business?

Place – Where will you sell your products/services and provide information about your business? How will you deliver your goods to your target market? How will shipping, billing, credits, customer service etc…be managed?

Promotion – What methods of promotion and advertising will use to communicate the features and benefits of your products or services to your target customers? How much is this all going to cost? Will you offer promotional discounts?  How will you monitor what methods work best and which can be dropped?  What will your Internet marketing strategy be?  Will you cold call prospects or rely on relationship marketing, or both?  What about offline methods like business cards, flyers, classified ads in local papers?

People – Will you employ others to help you?  If so, in what capacity?  How much can you afford to pay them?  What about having partners instead if they are willing to invest their time now in hopes of getting paid later?  What contracts will you have drawn up? How do you plan to measure customer satisfaction?

EssentiallyFree Web Content, these elements will form the basis of your marketing plan. Answer the above questions honestly and with as much detail as possible to cover all your bases. A thorough analysis of what your business needs are will help you focus and build consistently in both good and bad times.  Your marketing strategy is all about the long-term so keep your eye on the prize and get it! 

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Gopal (The Musical Mad Scientist and Entrepreneur)

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