As a starter, you want to sell your products or services as well as possible. Writing a marketing plan contributes to the flying start of your company with concrete objectives. With a good marketing strategy, you increase the chance of success considerably.
The marketing plan is an all-encompassing strategy, consisting of a number of separate parts that are all interconnected.
Formulate goal and strategy
Think of a SWOT analysis, the marketing mix, and determining the target group. It helps you to formulate a clear goal and base a strategy on it.
We will discuss all the individual parts below and also explain why it is important to include these aspects in the marketing plan.
1. Make a business analysis
In the business analysis section, you describe the current situation of your (future) company: all internal affairs and demographic characteristics are discussed.
Include in your business analysis:
- Start with a clear overview of your financial situation: what are the turnover figures and what are the results of the purchases and sales?
- Also describe the characteristics of the product or service you are going to provide
- What materials do you need?
- And is it to be expected that you will hire staff?
- Include the working method and structure of your company in this analysis: for example, make an organization chart to map this out. Describe the corporate culture
- Also describe external factors such as the location of your office building or accessibility, which may affect your business operations
2. Determine target group
When starting a business, it is essential to map out your future customers. You research for whom you make the product or to whom you offer a certain service.
As soon as you know what their biggest needs are, you adjust the Marketing strategy accordingly. The better you get a picture of the target group, the more chance the company has of success.
Prepare customer analysis
You can further increase insight into the target group by drawing up a customer analysis. The main goal: discover who your potential customers are and how you can reach them.
3. Conduct industry and market research
After you have determined the target audience, exploring the market begins. You do this by examining how things are going in your industry.
One of the sources to obtain these figures is the sector guide of CDM. You can also contact the CBS (Stateline) or use the market figures of Rabobank.
Get more insight into your sector
When you have gained more insight into your sector, you can dive deeper into the market by conducting market research. Ask people from your target group what they think of your product or service, for example by conducting interviews or conducting surveys.
The advantage of interviews is that you can find out the motives; the advantage of a survey is that you can reach a larger number of people in a short time.
4. Prepare a competition analysis
In the competitor analysis part, you pay attention to the specific properties of your product and those of a number of competitors.
Compile a list of main competitors
For example, list a number of companies in your industry and region that you consider to be the main competitors.
Write down what you have to offer the customer compared to these companies:
- How does your product or service compare to that of the competition?
- Are there opportunities to distinguish yourself?
- And if so: can these plans be implemented in the short term?
5. Make SWOT analysis
The SWOT analysis is a well-known concept in the marketing world, which you can use on both a personal and business level.
It is an analysis of your strengths and weaknesses so that you can clearly clarify whether a new product or service has enough potential.
- S = Strengths: What am I good at?
- W = Weaknesses: What are my weaknesses?
- O = Opportunities: Where are the opportunities?
- T = Threats: What threats are lurking?
By being honest with yourself and your company, you expose all bottlenecks and, with the necessary adjustments, you can convert these threats or weaknesses into opportunities and strengths.
If you have mapped out the SWOT analysis, you can determine a concrete goal that you want to achieve with the company. And formulate the strategy to make this possible.
6. Draw up a marketing strategy
Ansoff’s growth model is well-known in the marketing strategy world. The basis of this model, in which four growth strategies for companies are discussed, can be applied to both marketing and sales.
The matrix is based on the sale of products to customers:
- Market penetration: existing products for existing markets
- Market development: existing products for new markets
- Product development: new products for existing markets
- Diversification: new products for new markets
7. Formulate a marketing mix
A good starting point for formulating a marketing strategy is the marketing mix, which consists of the four Ps: product, price, promotion, and place. In some cases also supplemented with the fifth P: personnel.
All these parts are directly related to each other. Today we also call the four PS the four Cs, because the perspective of the marketer has shifted more towards the customer (customer) in recent decades.
- The product stands for Customer Needs: the product must provide added value
- Price stands for costs: in addition to price, consumers are also increasingly looking at how much effort they have to put into it. Make sure that you can make a difference with good preconditions
- The place stands for convincing. The customer is looking for convenience. Do not pay a lot of money on parking costs to get to your store, but order something online with the push of a button. Or you must have a distinctive product
- Promotion stands for Communication. The customer has become more empowered and wants interaction. Use social media and communicate
8. Determine the marketing budget
Most start-ups have a more limited marketing budget and therefore often have to choose which business aspect they spend the most money on.
Starting entrepreneurs or self-employed people initially invest mainly in the business resources they need for their work. Think of good computer equipment for a copywriter and a van for a contractor.
The marketing budget is therefore often neglected during the start-up phase. Still, you don’t need a lot of budgets to run a smart marketing campaign.