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News around Africa - January 24, 2019

Steps to developing effective marketing plan for a new businesses

A marketing plan is a well-detailed, deliberate and sustained effort aimed at stimulating consumer’s interests in a product or service. Before an entrepreneur ventures into any business, it is expected that he has a clear cut understanding of the line of business he is about to go into and that marketing plan enables the business owner to promote it.

There is no particular scope for this sort of document, so long as it covers the vital areas – that is good enough to do it trick. Though some large corporations develop marketing plans that run into hundreds of pages, some small one-person businesses might have just a handful of pages.

It is good to note, however, that a great marketing plan should span a period of one year. This is to enable the businessperson adequate time to attain the long term goals as well as the short ones and also allow for some flexibility when situations change.

These following steps will guide your venture in building a unique marketing plan to help you make that business idea a dream come true:

Understanding your business – the first step

Truth be told – nobody knows your business as you do, but answers to these pertinent questions will help you arrive at understanding your venture altogether. What product or service are you selling? When will you start and how long do you hope to be in the game? Are you a partnership, limited liability company, sole proprietorship, etc? What nature of operation and structure will your business take? Will you use the storefront, online of both options?

At this stage, some companies and individuals do a Strength Weakness Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis, while others refrain from doing so. However, the SWOT analysis serves as a litmus test for budding companies.

Knowing your target market – the second step

This section must entail detailed information of those who will patronise your product or who the service will be for, it must also outline their behaviours, decision making patterns, their demographics and possibly – why they should buy from you. With this information, a business entrepreneur will be equipped with the needed tactics and strategies for drawing a marketing plan.

Evaluating the competition – the third

This is an important step to sketching your marketing plan, not only in gathering information about your competition but this stride will also help you prove to potential investors that you are not just knowledgeable about your business, but also aware and ready for the competition.

Having a healthy run with the competition is the way to go, but an in-depth knowledge of those offering similar services as you will be of great advantage. Then leveraging on where and how you stand out can make the difference in your line of business.

Furthermore, at this step, entrepreneurs must be wary of the achievements of the competition so as not to be carried away especially if they are thriving so as not to dampen their zeal before and after their business take off.

Target goals and objectives – the fourth 

For every business endeavour, there are usually goals to be attained. A careful sketch of these target goals will assist a business owner to strategise adequately for a marketing plan. Goals can vary from small to big, short to long term, etc, but must however be realistic and motivating enough to be attained.

These targets could be a yearly plan. You do not want to bother about the logistics just yet, but you want your goals to be motivating and far-reaching, and not so difficult that they’re just discouraging. Examples are, promoting the sugar brand online to drive sales, posting newspaper advertisements on your product, engage in consumer research, etc.

The roadmap on the ‘how’ – the fifth

After outlining what you want to accomplish, a detailed approach and plan on how to reach those targets will be the next move. They are basically simple enough to be understood and workable action points.

It is recommended that each goal and target is taken one after the other, and a list of related actions to be taken follows side by side those goals. This allows the entrepreneur to see exactly what needs to get done in specifics on a stage by stage progression. It also helps him see clearly which goals are attainable and which needs adjustments.

Action points may take any of the following forms as these; doing product researches on social media, engage consumers on product choices through a survey, explore strengths of competitor via consumer ads and programs, use hashtags on Twitter to introduce a new product, etc.

Budgeting – the sixth

This part details the entire financial aspects of the marketing plan. Here, the planner must focus mainly on the costs of the marketing related activities. One sure way to go about budgeting is to ask this kind of questions while planning for an entire year; how much do I intend to spend on the action points? How do I get the money to do the activities stated?  How soon can the funds be available?

Budgets aren’t fun, but it’s important to be honest with yourself wherein that every item on your action points must be apportioned to an amount to be spent.

Getting to work – the final

Now that all the preparatory stages are done with, its ideal to get to work!

A quick point here is to note that developing a marketing plan is not a ‘one size fits all’ scenario. Every marketing plan must be tailored to suit a specific line of business, hence the need to focus on the needs. So it doesn’t matter the number of pages yours take, as long as it meets the business need, it is good to go!

Also Read: 7 Distress Signs Your Business is Failing, how to turn it around

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