I believe one of the single most critical components to any comprehensive business plan is the Marketing section. I mean, regardless of how great your product or service is, no one will buy it if you can’t effectively target and reach your prospective customer base.
In my many years of PR and Marketing Communications, I have developed countless Marketing Plans for businesses of all types, sizes and at different stages of growth – from the fresh start-up to the established bellwether that is launching a new campaign. From these experiences, I have learned that a carefully researched, planned and executing Marketing strategy is imperative to the success of any business.
The many successful Marketing campaigns I’ve managed all consist of certain key components that I would argue should never be left out. These include:
A. Situation analysis – synopsis of the market landscape (competitors, target customers, business need, etc.)
B. Market opportunity – What niche exists in the market? What is your anticipated revenue? Can you build or steal market share?
C. Business objectives – What is your business trying to achieve through its marketing efforts? For example: Is it market share, expanding reach into existing set of core customers, expansion into new markets, increased sales, etc.?
D. Key messages – business differentiation statements that uniquely position your business and its offerings against your competitors
E. Strategies – What key approaches will you take to effectively achieve your business objectives? For example: if one of your business objectives is to expand your reach into existing set of core customers, then a supporting strategy might be an executive-level ad campaign targeting senior level executives.
F. Tactics – These are the specific tactical actions you will take to fulfill your strategies. For example if one of your strategies is an executive-level ad campaign, then a supporting tactic might be to develop a new ad that appeals to C-level executives.
G. Execution timeline – putting target completion and execution dates to each tactical action item you have outlined.
This may sound like a lot, but there are many different types of specialized agencies out there to help you flawlessly plan and execute such a strategic Marketing plan including Public relations agencies, Advertising agencies, special-events firms, branding agencies and more.