Your Marketing Map

10 Components of the Plan

by Alvah Parker, Score Accredited Business Counselor

To better market your business you'll need to think about your marketing strategy.  It isn't enough to do sporadic marketing activities.  A successful plan will help you to establish a constant flow of new business and allow you to more accurately forecast your staffing needs. Here is a list of 10 topics to include in your plan:

  • Describe your target market in demographic terms (age range, income level, occupation, marital status, geographical location, sex).
  • Describe your target market in psychographic terms (life style, desires, perceived needs) This information along with demographic information will help you to find where your target market hangs out. Whatever you choose in terms of marketing activities you always want to be sure you are in front of a significant number of members of your target market.
  • Estimate the size of your target market.  The larger the target market the easier it is to reach them.  That said however a target market that is too large may prove difficult to reach because there is a lot of variation within it.  You want to choose a target market that is small enough so that when you speak or write to them, they feel you are speaking or writing directly to them.
  • Analyze your competitors by detailing their strengths and weaknesses and where you see opportunities to compete with them and also where you see threats to them or to you in terms of competition.
  • Describe the service you offer and what your competitive advantage is.  This is an opportunity to get clear about your value proposition-the reason clients choose you over the competition.
  • Put it all together in a positioning statement that takes this form: The target market for my practice is (describe the clients using the information from 1 and 2 above) who have this problem (what is the compelling reason they need this service?).  The service offered is (describe service as you did in #5) is unlike the competition because (describe competitive advantage as you did in #5)
  • Describe how you will deliver this product/service. Will the customer come to your location?  Will you go to the customer?  Is the product/service delivered on the telephone or over the Internet?  Can the customer get the product/service by regular postal service?
  • How will you price your product/service?  What is the competitive pricing environment?  Are their any constraints that limit what you can charge?  Do you have a specific profit margin that you must get?  What do you estimate it costs you to deliver this service? What are you basing your pricing on? Is it cost, quality, leadership, revenue generation?
  • What are the marketing actions and follow up actions you will take to get your prospects to become customers?  How frequently and where will you market your product/services?
  • How will you measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy?  This is the only way to know how successful your marketing strategy is.  After 3 or 4 months if the strategy is not working, you will want to alter the plan and try again.