When writing the business plan, the Marketing Plan section explains how you're going to get your customers to buy your products and/or services. The marketing plan, then, will include sections detailing your:
- Products and/or Services and your Unique Selling Proposition
- Pricing Strategy
- Sales/Distribution Plan
- Advertising and Promotions Plan
The easiest way to develop your marketing plan is to work through each of these sections, referring to the market research you completed when you were writing the previous sections of the business plan.
(Note that if you are developing a marketing plan on its own, rather than as part of a business plan, the marketing plan will also need to include a Target Market and a Competitive Analysis section. You can find out how to do these sections of the marketing plan in "Writing The Market Analysis Section of The Business Plan" and "Writing The Competitive Analysis Section".)
Products and/or Services
This part of the marketing plan focuses on the uniqueness of your product or service, and how the customer will benefit from using the products or services you're offering. Use these questions to write a paragraph summarizing these aspects for your marketing plan:
What are the features of your product or service?
Describe the physical attributes of your product or service, and any other relevant features, such as what it does, or how your product or service differs from competitive products or services.
How will your product or service benefit the customer?
Remember that benefits can be intangible as well as tangible; for instance, if you're selling a cleaning product, your customers will benefit by having a cleaner house, but they may also benefit by enjoying better health. Brainstorm as many benefits as possible to begin with, and then choose to emphasize the benefits that your targeted customers will most appreciate in your marketing plan.
What is it that sets your product or service apart from all the rest? In other words, what is your Unique Selling Proposition, the message you want your customers to receive about your product or service that is the heart of your marketing plan? The marketing plan is all about communicating this central message to your customers.
Continue onto page 2 to learn how to set a pricing strategy for your products or services.