Back when I had an advertising agency in the early 1990’s the company stationary had printed on the bottom of each sheet:
Have a Plan… Work the Plan… Succeed!
I believe even more today in the importance of writing marketing plans. These plans lay the proper foundation to get a company started right. With the addition of the internet and social media, there are more marketing opportunities than ever, and a marketing plan will help you choose how and where to get your message out.
The marketing plan answers the questions: Who are our customers, What are we selling them, and How do we reach them. A good way to write a marketing plan is to answer the 4P’s of marketing PRODUCT, PRICE, PLACE, and PROMOTION. These are the big four that have been the basis of most plans since the 1950’s. In the last decade or so, 4 more Ps have been included in most companies marketing plans: PEOPLE, PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT, PROCESS, and PACKAGING.
You might think that not all 8P’s apply to your business, but this is not true. Even home-based businesses should use these 8P’s.
Let’s take one of my clients who is launching a new home-based business and her 8P’s:
- Product: As a company that produces Scavenger Hunts for corporations and non-profits, her product is a proposal for the hunt.
- Price: Contracted rates or a percentage of the profits for staging the hunt.
- Place: She works from home meeting clients in their office. The hunt takes place outside in an area around the company putting on the hunt, or inside a building like a museum.
- Promotion: She is working with a very narrow list of for-profit companies and non-profits that are easy to target using email, a web-site, and a brochure.
- People: The principal is a go-getter just a couple of years out of college with an arts background that has run a non-profit and been a business manager for a well-known market research firm who had an idea for the company and struck out on her own. She is a company of one.
- Place: No client will probably ever visit her apartment but pictures from other successful scavenger hunts appear on the web-site and in presentations.
- Process: Make the targeted companies aware of the new business, solicit work, create proposal, create and stage unique scavenger hunt.
- Packaging: Since the customers will not come to her and there is nothing to see until the event takes place, her web-site, logo, stationary, and how the proposal looks will become her packaging.
The 8 P’s with just these one or two-line definitions will form the basis for the marketing plan and will then define her business model. When you add the other elements that are traditionally present in a marketing plan – financial data (how much money you have to start the business, how much you will charge, etc.), product data (product attribute, how you are different from the competitors), sales data (what you expect to sell and why), advertising & promotion data ( how you will promote your product and company), and market data (where you will do this, who your competitors are, hours, etc.) you will have your completed marketing plan. Once you have a plan that makes sense – work your plan.
The plan helps you figure out what is important and what is not. It will even provide you the financial information you will need to know when you succeeding. In short, you will have the plan, you will work the plan and you will know when you are succeeding. Good luck.
Submitted by John Watkins, managing partner at Watkins Consulting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Watkins is a business development consultant with over 30 years experience helping companies start, grow, and launch products.