It’s been said that if you build it they will come. But the cold, hard reality is that they won’t come if your marketing plan doesn’t clearly and effectively communicate that you even exist.
After all, how can they come if they don’t know who you are, what you do, where you’re based, why you exist, when they can get your products and services, and how to get in touch with you? So, your marketing plan has to strategically reach out to prospective customers not only by identifying a need, but also by filling it better than the competition can.
What follows is a look at how you can building a compelling marketing plan for your startup — so that you can hit the ground running and start to generate sales right out of the proverbial gate.
Marketing Section of Business Plan
In looking at the marketing section of your business plan, the aspects to be considered include market examination, marketing strategy, and sales strategy.
When it comes to your business plan, the marketing and sales portion will play a major role. It will start off with a marketing examination that will touch on a market analysis and and industry analysis. On the one hand, the market analysis will look at the primary products and services you will offer in the context of market needs, market expansion estimates, market trends, and buying patterns. On the other hand, the industry analysis portion will feature a look at primary rivals and their strategies as well as a look at primary sector players and their specific involvement within the industry.
This section begins with a value proposition statement, which clearly describes how your products and services service your target the needs or improves the situation of your demographic as well as explains why your products and services will offer your customers more value than will the products and services of rivals.
Your marketing strategy will cover the initiatives you will use to earn market share. It needs to be broken down into several points:
Positioning Statement: Your positioning statement needs to focus on your products and services as well as detai their primary selling points. In order to write an effective positioning statement, you’ll want to decide on the demographic you want to target, formulate a list of needs that your target demographic has that you plan to meet, and explain how your products and services meet the needs of your customer base.
Pricing Plan: In this part, you’ll want to introduce your pricing model and explain how it was selected and the rationale behind it. One source notes that pricing strategies include the following components, one or more of which will likely fit your startup’s situation.
- Cost-plus pricing. Using this strategy, you need to calculate your expenses and tack on a mark-up.
- Competitive Pricing. This involves establishing a price after factoring into the equation what your rivals charge for comparable products and services.
- Price skimming. With this pricing strategy, you choose a high price and then reduce it as the sector evolves.
- Penetration skimming. This involves selecting a low price to enter a competitive sector and then increasing the price down the road.
- Price bundling. This involves combining products and services to boost value and the price.
Promotion Plan: With your promotion plan, you’ll need to explain in detail the marketing communication you plan to use to present a strong message designed to get your target demographic to buy your products and services. There happen to be at least five parts in a promotional effort that you can tap into to get the word out about your offerings. These include advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing.
Distribution and Delivery Plan: As the title suggests, this refers to your specific strategy to distribute and deliver your products and services to your customers.
Marketing Initiatives: This ties in aspects of the other parts of the overall marketing strategy, but it puts more flesh on the bones by explaining the nitty-gritty of the needed manpower, funding, and more. When it comes to funding your startup, there are many options available if you can’t bootstrap it yourself. For instance, you can pursue a crowdfunding campaign, apply for a business loan, or even work out an advance from one of your partners. Marketing and advertising will be paramount as your startup seeks to win over customers, build market share, and grow into a successful brand. So, consider what funding options make the most sense.
The sales strategy is the part that concludes the marketing and sales portion of your business plan. It will typically include three sections:
Strategic Partners: Strategic partners refer to business relationships or contacts that your startup has formed that could help to expand the company.
Sales Forecast: A sales forecast will help you to estimate future sales. Of course, you’ll need to do your research to arrive at accurate sales forecasts. Accomplishing this will give your startup the ability to make prudent business decisions and to anticipate performance over the short term and long term.
Sales Strategy: This basically broadens the sales forecast by providing specific steps needed to be taken not only by your startup, but also by your strategic partners to achieve projected sales targets.
If you take the aforementioned points to heart, you can put together a compelling marketing plan to successfully take your startup to market and to increase its odds for long-term success. Again, a business loan could be just what you’re looking for if you need a source of funding to carry out your marketing plan. The long-term viability of your business may, in fact, depend on it.
Nick Rojas wears many hats — business consultant, serial entrepreneur, business and technology journalist. For the past 20 years, this self-taught marketing strategy has worked with small to medium sized businesses offering his personal brand of expertise. His latest adventure includes working with Brilliance.