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The marketing plan is a powerful tool that belongs in your small business arsenal.If you've been making do without a plan so far, or using a "play it by ear" approach, you're missing out on boosted revenue. A plan focuses your best efforts on activities that move your business forward.Does your ideal customer spend a lot of time on social media? Are there particular events or activities which are a big draw?
Marketing is about creating a conversation with people and measuring that conversation to see how well it's working. How does that conversation change tone, or meaning, as the marketplace changes?
As you start executing your strategies keep that top of mind. This is the section where you get down to the practical nuts and bolts of your marketing plan.
This is the first thing someone sees when they read your marketing plan but it is the last thing you write. Once you have a basic overview of your current market situation, it's time to take a closer look at your market environment. First, identify those trends that might present you with challenges. There will also likely be market trends that provide you with opportunities or benefit you in some other way.
The Executive Summary outlines all the major points of the plan itself, so anyone in management can pick up the plan and get an idea about your vision. Identify these trends and describe the positive impact they could have on your business and how you can take advantage of them.
You want to address how you'll implement your strategies and achieve your objectives by breaking things down into action steps or smaller goals.
You already did a bit of this when you considered the implementation methods you would use for each marketing strategy.There are a lot of strategies out there (far more than can be covered here).No matter which approach you take, it must push your objectives forward and – ultimately – drive revenue.It's important to know that a properly developed, comprehensive plan isn't something you'll finish in one or even two sessions. You don't need to come up with a perfect plan, either.You're deciding what you need to do to grow your business and how you're going to go about it. Marketing plans are not, and should not be, written in stone.Some common promotion strategies include: Now is a good time to get creative!At the same time, make sure you watch costs and check that the strategies you embrace are measurable.This should help you answer questions like: If you did any research when you developed your business plan, you may already have this information.If not, talk to your salespeople and your customer service staff.In marketing parlance, marketing strategies fall within what's known as the four Ps: product, price, place (distribution) and promotion.For a typical small business, promotion will form the bulk of your strategy.