The Guide to Creating a Marketing Plan for Small Businesses

Any small business that wants to be successful needs to have a solid marketing plan in place. Every aspect of marketing a company needs to have its own plan in order for those efforts to be effective. The need for separate business plans for each marketing project means a lot of work for small business owners, but that work pays for itself several times over in increased revenue. A good marketing plan allows you to track results and use that data to make better marketing plans in the future. Every business owner needs to understand what elements go into a solid business plan and how to create plans that will grow their businesses from taking out their first small-business loans to big-time success.Creating a Marketing Plan for Small Businesses

Market Research

Market research describes the processes used to collect relevant data before, during, and after a marketing campaign has been executed. By doing market research, a company is attempting to determine its target audience, the mediums that are best to use when reaching that audience, and the most effective ways to create a marketing message that will motivate that audience. The data collected during market research is analyzed and updated on a constant basis to make it as current and accurate as possible. Without good market research, it is extremely difficult to have successful marketing plans.

Marketing Mix

At the heart of the marketing mix are the concepts surrounding product, price, promotion, and place. Marketing experts use these concepts to understand how to expand and maximize their offerings to reach as many people as possible. The marketing mix places emphasis on how the different areas of marketing work together to create a profitable product.

Product Life Cycle

In the marketing mix, the product life cycle is a big part of product development and the growth of product lines. Marketers examine the life of a product very closely to help make important decisions regarding production, promotion, and sales. Product experts analyze the historical data for a product line to determine the life cycle of each individual product. When a product is first released, sales data is carefully analyzed to determine if the product will be successful or not. Marketers need to let production managers know when it is time to start decreasing production on a product to save on production costs and to avoid having a large backlog of products people don't want.

Promotion Techniques

The Internet has significantly changed the types of promotion techniques marketing experts use, but the smart business owner knows that online marketing alone is not going to be effective. In any marketing plan, the promotion techniques need to be planned out very specifically to help control costs. Radio, television, magazines, the Internet, and newspapers are all part of the promotional mix, and marketing experts have comprehensive ways to track the success of each promotion technique to determine if it will be used in the future.

Channels of Distribution

Buying space on retail shelves is not always the best way to get products to consumers. It takes years of research for companies to determine the best ways to distribute their products, and a good distribution plan usually consists of more than one channel. One of the biggest myths about channels of distribution is that the Internet is always the best way to sell products. With some types of products, the Internet can be an extremely ineffective and inefficient way of getting the job done.