MARKETING PLAN FOR SMALL BUSINESS
By Otun Oyindamola
Marketing Plan for Small Business Introduction
This paper is meant to be in attendance with the marketing plan in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from both service provider’s perspective and customer’s perspective. Marketing plan are not one time process but varies and has a unique action which is necessarily important to revise year by year to attain predetermined objectives. However, if the turnover is huge or marginal, marketing strategies are applicable and advisable in case of every small, medium and large enterprise.It is directed to people who are in view of starting a small business and also small business owners who want to learn more about successful strategies and skills. Small businesses are privately owned company, partnership or sole proprietorship that hardly has employees and less annual revenue than a company or average-sized business. There has been tremendous increase and growth in the number of small businesses across the world in recent times. The growth and survival of small businesses is highly dependent on their ability to remain afloat and keep offering value. To remain relevant and strong in the market, it is very important that a small business embrace aggressive marketing techniques to attract customers and keep them coming to them to buy their good/service.Marketing involves carrying out activities that promotes the buying or selling of a company’s product, service, or good.In the modern world most of the activities carried out involves some elements of marketing.
The marketing plan for a small business identifies the target market for a product and its relationship. Marketing plan is a detailed document that outlines the strategy that a company will follow so as to achieve its goals which includes short term and long term marketing goals as well as marketing its product to their customers. The plan covers the target market, product brand and advertising of the product. The marketing plan should be made on an adjusted ongoing basis based on the findings from the metrics that shows which efforts are having a significant impact and which are not. Marketing is an omnipresent entity.
Overview of Small Business Marketing
The journey of a business starts with small business entrepreneur. Unfortunately, many fail to show it on their marketing strategy and plan. Marketing the business is an essential decision that begins with a plan. In other for the product to be recognized in the market and with the aim to sell your product or services, directly or indirectly, there is need for a unique and consistent marketing plan.
DEFINITION OF MARKETING
Marketing refers to the action taken in a company to promote the buying or selling of a product, service, or goods. It is also the primary components of business management. The action a business uses to promote and sell a product or service, which includes market research and advertising, is referred to as marketing. Marketing deals with customers, it’s delivering of satisfaction at a profit level.
According to Philip Kotler “Marketing is a societal process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering, and freely exchanging products and services of value with others”.
Likely questions of which small business entrepreneur, needs to take into consideration when planning a business.
- Who are necessarily in need of Marketing? And Why?
Q: Who are necessarily in need of Marketing?
A: Everyone who as in mind to set up or establish a business with the aim of making it grow and making profit.
Q: Why is Marketing needed?
A: You need marketing so as to overcome the numerous competing businesses in the market and to win over your potential customers, and also making your business stand out.
WHAT IS MARKETING PLAN?
Marketing plan is a strategic guideline or an outline that a business use to organize, carry out, and track their marketing strategy which will be used to generate sales over a given time period. Marketing plan is set to work towardachievingthe business goals. It is also described as a document that a business generate as an outline for themarketing strategy that will be used for the coming year. However, if you have a small business, you will still need a marketing plan because you will be writing your situation analysis for the business, marketing strategy, expense budget, etc. This is also where you get to setgoals, either long term or short term for your business when it comes to marketing and advertising. . Advertising and marketing your business are important in the process of every business in order to effectively sell your products to the appropriate market or targeted audience of your product and service.
Start with a market Research
Market research involves surveying and analyzing market conditions to define a target audience, competition, pricing, and more, giving you an idea on your business. A market research is the pillar of any marketing plan. It helps you to learn more about the sales, size, growth rate and major elements in accordance to that business. It is used also to identify the marketing channel to be used. There are two types of market research, we have the primary and secondary research.
- Primary research: it is a research conducted yourself, such as interviews and focus groups, because during the research you will study your product base on customers and it’s favorable. while
- Secondary research: refers to the research that has been conducted by someone else, including industry reports and studies, it provides valuable information about your competition and the industry at large
- Marketing communication
It’s the strategy that’s been used to give information about your product or services to targeted customers. Examples includes, catalog, direct mail, samples and more. It also include partnership with distributors, wholesalers, and other potential customers located to patronize your product or services.
Here are few things small business entrepreneurs should keep in mind:
- Have patience: All marketing plans require a little real-world trial-and-error to perfect.
- Give special attention to existing customers: Loyal customer relationships can become a sustainable income source. Creating a platform that can make them have trust in you and also providing a unique customer service, which will keep them coming back to you .
- Ask for customer’s feedback: to make improvements in your business, asking for feedback from your customers makes them feel heard. Asking them for feedback and genuinely integrating it into your business shows you see them beyond a revenue stream.
A market analysis is a quantitative and qualitative assessment of a market. It’s an inspection in the size, volume and value of the market, the customer segments and buying styles, the competition, and the economic environment in terms of barriers to entry and regulation.
DESCRIPTIONS OF MARKET ANALYSIS
- History: In this step, you will expatiate and discuss the direction that the business is heading too. You’ll will include vital information’s such as size, trends, and the product growth. It will help you understand if there’s going to be more demand for your products in the future and how competitive is likely to be.For example, if you are selling a tablet mobile phones, you’ll want to know if the demand for tablet mobile phones is growing or shrinking.
- Target customer/market: Target market is the most important segment of your market analysis. This is where you describe who your ideal customers are. As a small business, you have to identify your potential customers known as your target audience. A targeted market is essentially looking into the population of customers where you will be selling your product or services.And also; every marketing plan for a small business requires a defined target market. For example, you’re business sells unisex baby wears, you now found that there’s an opportunity in the market because the rate at which male babies are born are more. So in that case, the target market for your marketing plan will be only on male babies. When you are done selecting a target market, you sell to your existing customers or expand your customer base to include a new group.
- Growth rate: This is a stage where the business measures the point of expansion and generates more profit. Business growth is the business lifecycle, growth trends, and the owner’s desire for equity value creation.In this section you measure the rate at which your business is going to grow or move in the future. Will it be at the introductory, maturity or later decline in the future?
The purpose of this section is to give a clear view of who you are competing against. You need to explain your competitors’ positioning and set out their strengths and weaknesses. Identify your competitors and look over how your products provide a competitive advantage. Competitive analysis and positioning are similar as you will developing a brand that will give an edge against your competitors.To create an effective competitive analysis, you should be able to answer these questions: “What are the price tag of your competitors products at what rate do they sell?” “How long have they been in the business “What form of technology are they implementing in their products?” One way to implements your research is to give standard guidelines to your competitor against each of the important drivers of demand for your market which are the (price, quality, add-on services, etc.)
The marketing mix is the merging of elements that have impact on customer’s decision on what product to purchase. The marketing mix comprises of four main factors – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
Product refers to either the substantial goods or services that a business offers or the insubstantial goods or services. The major importance under this isbranding, product design, improving existing product, offering customized packaging and labeling details, warranties, and more.
Price can simply be the amount of money or cost a company’s customers must pay to obtain its product. The major decisions taken under this include price-setting for both existing and new product, pricing strategies, discounts, accepted means of payment methods, and more.
Place refers to a set location customers can get in touch with the businessand purchase its products. Providing satisfaction and access to the company’s customers is the goal. The major decisions under this include distribution, channels, locations, transportation, and logistics. You need to know how and where you will bring your product to your customers.
Promotion covers all the marketing communications by which the company creates awareness to make its product known and shape the customers thought of its product. Major decision here involve advertising, message content, media strategies, and more. You need to create awareness and interest in your product to your customers.
HOW TO DEVELOP A SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING PLAN
A typical marketing plan for a small business covers many element which includes a description of competitors,demand for products or services rendered and strengths and weaknesses from a market start point of both the business and its competitors.
A marketing plan is an essential tool needed to help you get to the point where you can reach your market and your profit goals. The basics stages involve in the marketing plan include:
- Situational analysis.
- Determine the objectives.
- Select and measure target markets.
- Design marketing mix strategies and plan
- Prepare annual marketing plan
- Implementation and evaluation.
SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS: A situational analysis is an analysis of external environmental forcesthat influence an organization’s marketing programme. They are classified into, political, economic, competitive, socio cultural, historical factors, etc. This analysis also evaluates an organization’s existing marketing mix so as to identify the short comings and problems associated with them. This analysis will assist an organization to know where it is and where it should reach in future, which may be called the first stage
DETERMINE THE OBJECTIVES: After carrying out a situational analysis, the next step is to determine the objectives. Here, objective includes both the corporate objectives as well as marketing objectives. While setting the marketing objectives, it is important to ensure the objectives are SMART-Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. You should be specific about what you plan to achieve, the objective should be measureable and achievable. It should also be realistic and time-bound. It will be better to be in writing so that there is no room for confusion.
SELECT AND MEASURE TARGET MARKET: the organization should identify the present and potential customers. They should know who mostly the buyers of their product is, this is what is called selection of target markets. Apart from analyzing the existing market for its products, the organization should also identify the new market for its products. For this reason, the company has to adopt the marketing segmentation technique.
DESIGN MARKETING MIX STRATEGIES: designing a strategic marketing mix that enables the organization to satisfy the wants of its target markets and to achieve the marking objectives.
PREPARE ANNUAL MARKETING PLAN: a series of short term or long term marketing plans are prepared. It includes a statement of objectives, identifying the target market, strategies relating to marketing mix, information relating to the budgetary support for the marketing activity.
IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION: how will you carry out your marketing plan? Planning is quite easy, but carrying out a plan is more demanding. This is done to know how far the organization is following the plan.The specific performance of the strategic plan has to be critically evaluated so as to achieve the objectives of the company as desired and as planned. In the process of evaluation, if any faults is found, corrective measures should be incorporated immediately. It would also be wise to do this evaluation segment wisely so that the strategy developed for each segment can be perfected.
MARKETING CHANNELS FOR SMALL BUSINESS
It is a process where you attract and persuade consumers that what you to offer your products or services to them. It requires research, promotion, selling and distribution of products or services. Even with a great product or service, if consumers don’t know and understand its worth, no sales will be made. At the end, you want to grow as much and as fast as you can, which is impossible without putting in your efforts into marketing at some point.As a small business, you will want to find the mostinexpensive waysto fulfil your marketing goals. There are number of marketing channels that can achieve this – some are even free. It includes:
This is one of the oldest marketing channels around, and as the saying goes, print is not dead. it can come in many forms, from ads in the local papers, to flyers. Printed advertisements gives your company the opportunity to give your clients something physical to hold on to. The only drawback is there are very easy to throw away, so you need to make sure that whatever you do is eye-catching and worth holding onto for long.
A new small business in the local area drops flyers and a local ad in the newspaper to introduce their business to the community.
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth marketing (WOMM), this has long been considered as one of the dominant forms of marketing, and to some length, it’s out of your control. The best reward for a business is to ensure that your business is being talked about and recommended. It always go that extra mile. The best thing you should do is to treat every customer like they are the most important person in the world and ensure your service captivates them. This form of marketing is challenging to measure, but it’s cheap and highly effective. And it can be used at any stage of business.
It’s a marketing channel that involves marketing your business to a nearby audience or market that you engage in. This type marketing is usually used by small businesses such as stores, restaurants and local outlet. Local market are focused around their location. It helps business to be readily available to the people near to them, making customers have direct contact with them, via mail, local town events or local sports team sponsorship. This allows a business to develop a repeat consumer base in the same area of the business location.In the case of a local business marketing, it’s all about building strong and reliable connections with the community.
A Largebusiness with a number of locations can use local marketing to reach their local target markets.
Email marketing is the most direct, and effective way of connecting with potential customers, nurturing them and converting them into customers. It helps to grow and maintain a relationship with the customers by regular sharing of valuable information.
Email marketing acts as a passage of communication between the customer and the business to share information relating to the product or service.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Consumers use a search engine when they want to learn or know more about a new business, product, or service, while some will use a search engine when they’re ready to buy.Addingto that fact it’s clear that the search engines are still the go-to method used in discovering new information online.
Search engine optimization is the procedure taking to make your website rank high in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for a certain term or keyword. This allows your page to be visible and easily accessible to those searching for the term, or something similar to it.
SETTING UP A BUDGET PLAN
Be Setting up a budget involves Creating, monitoring and managing a budget, which is vital to a business success. It helps you allocate your resources where they are needful, so that your business remains profitable and successful. It need not be complicated. You simply need to setup what you are likely to receive and spend in the budget period. It helps you to manage and have control over your business, most importantly focusing on the money received and spent.
Realistic about setting up a budget plan for your business – if you overestimate, it will cause you problems in the future.
For a small business to reach its height and success, it needs to focus on the content. Promoting this content to numerous channels that helps you to get the customers attention. The modern marketing has become popular and helpful. It has a unique content which look out for the attention of the audience and stays for longer term. It’s your efforts and advanced thoughts, that can boostyour business to the height and success.
The successful outcome of your small business relies on your efforts to grow profits using various methods, so every aspect of your business deserves your whole attention.
Speedy growth doesn’t happen suddenly, so there are diverse steps you must take to keep your business in operation. It takes time, energy, dedication, focus and effort. However, when you start deriving the benefits, you will see that your commitment is worth it.
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