A Marketing Plan Outline For Business Success



A Marketing Plan Outline is a great first step to creating a successful Marketing Plan. Instead of getting bogged down in high sounding wording in an effort to create a professional-looking Marketing Plan, a stripped down Marketing Plan Summary provides you the "basic math" of whether your business and marketing idea works on paper.

You don't need to be a financial wizard or marketing genius to analyze whether or not your Business Plan is viable. Rather than complicated Business Analysis and Market Research, start with basic questions that you can answer with a combination of common sense and a little thought. This way, you can "test the waters" as well as develop a Marketing Plan Outline that you will develop later.


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Marketing Plan Outline

The following Marketing Plan Summary deconstructs your business to lay bare whether or not your future sales and marketing efforts will have a leg to stand on. Every business owner goes through the following analysis whether or not this is actually written down or not. Studying these questions will allow you to think about the fundamental economics behind your marketing idea creating a Marketing Plan Outline that encompasses what it will take for your business to succeed.

The goal of looking at your Marketing Plan this way is to test your business idea for viability but as well help you develop your business concepts further. Marketing Plan Success comes from careful thought and work. Dive as deep as you can into each of these questions. Together, this Marketing Plan Outline provides the framework for your total eventual Marketing Plan. As well, let the questions open up new areas of analysis to further flesh out your idea.


(1) What are you selling?

Pretty straightforward question, but probably where your business idea began in the first place. In many cases your product or service may already be conceptualized and well-defined. In other cases you may need to tweak a few things, do some more research and product development. What is important in today's marketplace is making sure you consider many different potential revenue streams.

Use this Marketing Plan Outline to think about how you might tie your product into a service or have add-ons or partnerships with other businesses. How can you turn your product or service into an experience for customers? The key is to maximize how you create value. Create your Marketing Plan Summary around the customer and what more you can do for them.

A key question is how you differentiate your product, service or solution. What are your key selling points? What are you providing customers over and above what the market already offers? In creating new product ideas you must balance the risk of trying something too new with the necessity of appealing to your customers in a new way.

As a rule, proceed with caution. Do not overextend yourself in a completely new direction. Follow a modular approach from safe to risky and don't put all your eggs in one new basket. However you approach the question of what you sell, remember to approach the subject from the customer's perspective focusing on customer benefits and value.


(2) What does it cost you?

There are several ways to look at expenses but more than anything else when you start, a sound break-even analysis is required. It is useful to consider the cost part of the equation separately because there may be a lot more to creating your solution than you initially think.

Is your time an expense? Do you have manufacturing expenses or other costs related to creating value for customers? What about business space and the basic necessities such and phone, fax and internet. Do you need to pay suppliers or other partners? What about sales and marketing costs?

Look at both conservative and more exaggerated numbers to get a more realistic picture for Marketing Plan Success. Think about every step in the process to create your product or provide your service until when a customer completes a successful purchase. Anything that takes money out of your wallet is an expense. Count every dollar and don't dismiss anything as "necessary", "ongoing" or "an investment". What this means is be as hard as possible on yourself in determining what your real costs will be and factor absolutely everything in you can.


(3) What is your price?

Price is the second "P" of the Marketing Mix and how you set this varies as much as different products, businesses, markets and customers vary. Setting the right price is a science, an art and a complete mystery. Parameters used to decide price may be your costs, perceived customer value, availability, a fixed mark-up, location and added value.

For the purposes of your Marketing Plan Outline, the market price for similar products to yours is a good starting point. What you need to establish is a fair price that the market will bear, the most realistic price that your customers will be willing to pay. What range is your price likely to fall in? Will you be selling at this price right away or take some time to build up customer confidence? Like the other areas of this Marketing Plan Summary, the more thought you can put into this question the better.


(4) Who is your customer?




Another obvious question but one that it pays to invest a lot of thought in. Today's customers are not the "run of the mill" consumers of the past. Customers today expect something extra. They hold the cards and favor you with their business and they know it. You need to go the extra mile to cater to your customer in today's business world.

Your Marketing Plan Outline is a chance to really start thinking about who it is you are trying to reach. What kind of personality are they? Or is a better way to think about it in terms of what type of product or service they need or desire? Imagine yourself doing business with a string of customers: who are they? What particular characteristics or traits define them, financial, age, gender, geography?

Your initial customer analysis in this Marketing Plan Summary will be built upon in your full blown Marketing Plan where you study customer demographics in more detail. As much as you think of customers before design, production, marketing and so on, you will succeed. Build every aspect of your business around customers and with them in mind.


(5) How will you reach customers?

This questions covers both how you will communicate with customers as well as how customers buy. Once again, the onus is up to you to take advantage of all of the tools of the Marketing Communication Mix to reach your customers but as well, think about the many ways you can monetize the value you have created with your product, service or solution. Think of how both of these aspects of reaching customers are connected in that you can sell to customers the same way you market to them.

There are almost no limits to how you can transact with customers, via brochures or other paper marketing, over the phone, in a store or business location, online or through various partners. How do similar businesses to yours do business? If you market via flyers, will you include a brief order form and special offer? Are you enabled to accept credit card payments? How you reach customers depends on what type of customers you market to. Study your customers and research ways of making it easy for them to do business with you.


(6) What is your profit potential?

This is the final piece of the preliminary financial analysis required by your Marketing Plan Outline. You have decided on what you are selling and the costs associated with creating value. In studying customers, think about numbers and your potential business volume over the coming weeks, months and years.

You have the framework for how you are going to do business with your customers inasmuch as creating sales with the value you are offering them. Now ask yourself, does it add up? Experience is the only true indicator of how successful your business model will be but for the time being you must ensure that the numbers are in place for you to succeed financially.


(7) What are your main obstacles?

There are always "other factors" in undertaking any endeavor and your Marketing Plan Success cannot come without studying some of these. What are some of the internal and external factors that will affect how you do business? Is there licensing or other paperwork or regulation obligations you must fulfill? What about market conditions or currency rates?

Make sure you perform some due diligence for this Marketing Plan Outline and expand on the "measure twice, cut once" principle in your full blown Marketing Plan. The question of what challenges you will face as you develop your business applies as well to the questions you have already studied regarding your solution, customers, costs and every other aspect of doing business. Plan, prepare, proceed.


Get help with a Marketing Plan Outline for your business!

GO TO:
Creating Marketing Plans (Video)Sample Marketing PlanMarketing Plan TemplateMarketing Plan ExampleMarketing Communication PlanAdvertising Marketing PlansMarketing Plan Outline Consultant




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