A marketing plan is a well researched and well written report detailing the marketing, promotion, and advertising plans for an organization. Essential items in a marketing plan include:
- Internal capabilities and forces which will have a direct effect on marketing efforts
- External opportunities and threats which could affect the company
- Goals and strategies to achieve the company’s goals
Generally, a marketing plan is prepared to set the direction of marketing efforts, to secure funding, or as a component of the business planning process. As a new startup, you might not feel you have the necessary information to complete a full marketing plan.
Planning is one of, if not the only, essential functions you need to perform as the business starts up. Not having a business plan and marketing plan for your company could prove detrimental to your success. If you haven’t fully thought out how you are going to promote, price, distribute, and sell your product or service, how do you expect it to be a sales success?
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs (including myself!) do not complete this planning and do not forsee many of the obstacles to come in the first few months and years of a startup enterprise. To assist in this planning process, I created a one page marketing plan. The One Page Marketing Plan is not meant as a replacement for a full marketing plan, but something to help you in the early stages of a business when you do not yet want to commit to writing a full marketing plan.
The One Page Marketing Plan
The One Page Marketing Plan takes the essential parts of a marketing plan and condenses it to one page. On the One Page Marketing Plan, you will fill out sections detailing information about your product or service, your customers, your competitors, market intelligence, planning, sales planning, the 4 Ps, and a SWOT Analysis.
Description of Your Product or Service
This section is a summarized description of your product or service. For example, your description might be:
Description of Product or Service: Coffee Shop in Uptown Middletown
Be as descriptive as possible in the space you have.
The Customers Section is designed for you to identify your target customers and market segment. Who is your target customer? 18-35 men? 50+ women? College students in the German Village area of town? You should identify the target age range, gender, profession, education level, geographic residence, and home ownership as required. There is also a section for other information (job title, religious affiliation, hobbies) that may help to target your specific market.
In the Business Competition section, you will fill in details about your competitors. This will take some research – and it’s not acceptable to say, "I don’t have any competitors! This is a completely new idea!" It is extremely rare to have an idea which there isn’t some form of competitor, so be sure to put some thought into this section.
The Planning section is for identifying what your company plans to do in marketing over the next year or two. What is your marketing budget? (You do have a budget, right?) What are your goals for the next year or two? What are the strategies you will pursue to achieve these goals? What are industry trends which may affect your strategies? (Movement to the web for advertising, decline of newspapers, increase in DVR usage)
The Sales Planning section is much of the meat of your plan. How do you plan to price your product? Are you a cost plus firm? Value based pricing? Competitor based? Have you performed an Economic Value Estimation for your product?
The Placement area of the Sales Planning section is where you will fill in the details of the channels you will sell your product in. Will you have your own retail outlet? Resell through a distributor? Sell on the Internet? On eBay? How will you warehouse and distribute your product?
Promotion are the things you plan on doing to raise awareness of your product. Do you plan on producing TV commercials? Radio ads? Search engine advertising? What things will you do that cost little money? A PR campaign? Sponsor a golf outing?
The People section is designed for you to think about who will sell your product. Will you hire your own sales force? Are you the salesman? Will you use product reps? How will you handle customer service?
The Relationships area is designed for you to think about the people you know and how you can use them to promote your product or service. Are there key buyers in industry that will purchase your product? Are you friends with the local sports hero? Are there affinity groups you are a member of which will result in sales?
A SWOT Analysis reviews the company internally (Strength and Weaknesses) and externally (Opportunities and Threats).
Strengths are attributes your company has which could be a competitive advantage over your competitors. Do you have a patent for your product? Do you have the only specialists in your geographic area working for you for this particular service? Do you have contacts your competition does not?
Conversely, the Weakenesses of your firm are things which put you at a disadvantage. Are you bad at sales? Do you need to hire a lot of employees? Are you new to the area and do not have contacts in the city?
Opportunities are things in the market which you can take advantage of for your business. Are there no other firms like yours in the area? Are you the only childcare facility in a new 5,000 home neighborhood? Are there no other law firms specializing in your area of practice?
Threats are external forces which could harm your company. Is there an economic recession? Do you have full employment in your city and need to pay higher wages to attract job candidates? Are you starting a mortgage company in a time of customer defaults?
Value of the One Page Marketing Plan
There is a lot of value in completing the One Page Marketing Plan for your business. We recommend you do this for your business, and every major product you launch.
Download the One Page Marketing Plan