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Old 18th May 2006, 08:20 AM   #1
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Default marketing plan reduced to seven sentences

Any great business plan will include a marketing plan. Just like business plans, many small business owners will postpone, put off, avoid or otherwise ignore the need for a good marketing plan. My opinion is that a marketing plan is the most important part of a business plan.

I recently ran across an article online that makes the point that a marketing plan can be reduced to seven sentences. It's a great concept and the exercise could get the creative and inquisitive juices flowing to create a complete plan.
Write a Creative Marketing Plan in Seven Sentences
By Al Lautenslager

To create a good marketing plan you need three basic things (besides the guerrilla marketing prerequisites of time, energy and imagination). You need lots of information. You need thinking time, analysis, ideas, creativity and imagination, all wrapped up into "brain power." Finally, you need initiative: the ability to want to do something, and the ability to get it done.

Here's a simple process to creating a marketing plan using just seven sentences:

Sentence 1: What is the purpose of your marketing?

Sentence 2: Who is your target market?

Sentence 3: What is your niche?

Sentence 4: What are the benefits and competitive advantage?

Sentence 5: What is your identity?

Sentence 6: What tactics, strategies and weapons will you use to carry out your marketing?

Sentence 7: How much money will you spend on your marketing; what's your marketing budget?

These sentences represent your marketing plan outline.

"Build it and they will come" isn't an effective marketing plan or strategy. A successful plan boils down to two essentials:

1. Knowing your market inside and out, including what customers want and expect.

2. Identifying what's in your way to satisfy customers: e.g., competitors, barriers to entry, costs, outside influences, budgets, knowledge, etc.

Full article

Sentence 1: What is the purpose of your marketing? seems a little wasted on the surface but real focused marketing efforts are more that "to create more sales." The purpose can be introduction of a new product, highlighting a product or service of your business, branding of your business or something very focused like communicating the addition of a new employee. Knowing the purpose of the effort is important and I think that is why the author listed as item one.

Sentence 2: Who is your target market? Do you know your target market? This is incredibly important in any communication and one I talk about often when building websites. Who are you trying to reach? How old are they? What is their education level? Where do they live? What motivates them to buy?

Digging into this one element of the plan can reveal hundreds of hidden treasures up to and including markets that you didn't realize existed. Knowing the answers to these questions will provide answers to questions that need to be addressed later especially when considering how to reach the target market.

I'll write sometime about the "Psychographics" of the target market. It is the emotional part of the target market and it's important. I'm sure you've heard of demographics and this is similar and closely related. In brief, it's the why behind the who.

Sentence 3: What is your niche? No matter if you're a start up or an existing business, discovering your niche is important. Attempting to be all things to all people will be an exercise in futility. Find your niche by looking closely at your product or service, then ask yourself, what do I do best? What do I enjoy doing? This will help build sentence 4.

Sentence 4: What are the benefits and competitive advantage? See... told ya! There is a term in selling called FAB... feature, advantage, benefit. What is your product, service, company features? What advantages do you have over competing products and/or services? And what are the benefits to the customer? This last one is important because in the end, that is what will decide if your product, service or message is accepted and purchased.

Sentence 5: What is your identity? I'm not sure where he was headed with this but brand identity is near and dear to my heart. Identity is much more than a logo, an image, a name or a cool tag line. Identity permeates your entire business. Just like a social identity, sometimes it takes great effort to create that perfect image. However, in this context, knowing the answers to the above questions can help you discover the identity that will assist your marketing efforts.

Sentence 6: What tactics, strategies and weapons will you use to carry out your marketing? I love this one and when considering your answer, you should read the rest of Al's article. This is not something that can be considered lightly. Reducing it to one sentence will be difficult if possible at all.

I've had numerous discussions with marketing professionals about the importance of knowing the market and the tools to reach that market effectively. Understanding the effectiveness of the "weapons" is a key element in an battle plan and so few people have a true understanding of the weapons available in south central Kentucky. I've been researching this myself and will likely post some of my findings, but some will be just for me and my clients.

Sentence 7: How much money will you spend on your marketing; what's your marketing budget? This is complicated because if approached from the "how much do I have to spend" angle only, then your efforts will be handicapped. Personally, I think that this budget needs to be established in three distinct steps. Step one, identify all available methods and their cost, decide for yourself which have historically been effective and which you believe will reach your intended audience at a time they are ready to buy. Step two, establish a reasonable response from the available methods in sales so a return on investment can be established. This will help you with step three, set out a firm calendar with checkpoints, methods of quantifying results and alternate plans when something is performing less than anticipated. Now you can write sentence 7.

David Francis | Bowling Green KY USA | SoKy Local Business
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