There are many methodologies, but this is the simplest if you are starting your idea.
If you are reading this text, you have decided to open your business; It may also be that you already have it operating, but you have not developed a Marketing Plan.
In this article I will explain in a simple and step by step how to put it together. Although there are many authors and methodologies to put together a Marketing Plan, the one that I expose below is the one that I consider easier and practical, as well as valuable. It is essential to try to develop all the points, since this will serve us a lot in the conceptualization and strategy of our business.
1. Market analysis
Once you have landed your business idea, the first thing you should do is find out what exists in the market that is similar and, therefore, you can define who your competition will be, what they offer and how they sell your product or service. Fortunately we live in the digital age so doing an online research you can give you a very good idea of what your competition offers, although it is not too much to give them a physical visit (if this applies). I recommend, if you can, buy your product or service so you can live the full experience they offer. All this information document it and include it in your Marketing Plan. It will be very valuable.
2. SWOT Analysis
Since you identified and knew your competitors, it’s time to do an analysis of your company. In this stage, think and write what are the strengths and weaknesses (intrinsic or inherent to the company), as well as the opportunities and threats (Extrinsic or market / competition) of your business. This analysis will help you to determine which are your advantages and which are your weak points or areas of opportunity in which you should work and where you could be vulnerable. This will help you define where you are standing on the market and what your strategy will be.
3. Definition of the target
After the SWOT analysis, you must now decide who your target will be (target group or client). Although it sounds very obvious, it is common that some companies do not have a well-defined target audience. The more detailed you can develop the description, the better. It is recommended to define the range of age, sex, socioeconomic level, where you live, what you like, what and where you eat, etc. The more information you can get from your target, the more likely it is to offer you a product or service that really adds value or is likely to solve a problem in your life.
4. Definition of the Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
The UVP (Unique Value Offer) can begin to develop by asking the following question: What does my product or service offer my target (client) that is completely different to what my competition offers today?
If you do not have a strong answer, do not worry; it just means that you have not developed it. You must think of something that will make your product or service differentiate you from your competition, become your flag and not be so easy to imitate. As an example of this we can mention the case of Netflix in its beginnings. In those times, Blockbuster was the king of the market and had thousands and thousands of subscribers and branches. People went to their nearest Blockbuster and rented their movies; however, there were 2 areas of opportunity in the value offer: 1) The client had to leave his house to rent movies and had to return them to the branch before the due date; otherwise they charged a late fee. 2- The client paid for each movie he rented; if he rented 2, he paid for 2. Netflix implemented his rent system via mail (postal), without the client having to leave the house and providing the subscriber with an unlimited amount of movie and series rentals, at a single price and no delay fees. That was his Unique Value Propositon. Afterwards, over the years, they migrated to the digital streaming platform that we know today. The rest is history.
Positioning is defined as the phrase we would like our client to think about when thinking about our brand or company. Some successful examples of positioning that describe exactly what the brand represents and its differentiators against the competition are: Burger King: Have it your way (Ask for it to your liking); 7Up: The Un-cola (The soda that is NOT tail); Apple: Think different. This exercise will help us think about the conceptualization of what we want to offer the client and how to communicate that value offer.
6. The 5P’s
Many authors talk about the 4p’s of Marketing: Product, Price, Plaza (Distribution) and Promotion; In my particular case, I always add a fifth that is the Post-sale, which I consider as relevant as the other 4. To define each of these, I recommend asking the following questions:
Product: What will I sell to my clients?
We must define what are the features and benefits offered by my product (or service) to the client
Price: How much will it cost the customer?
Here we have to consider what our costs and profit margins will be, as well as when it sells our competition, in order to define our price. We must develop our pricing strategy and define whether it suits us to be up, down or equal (in terms of the public price), compared to our competitors.
Promotion: How will I make the product / service known?
You must define here whether your social media strategy, website or any other means of communicating the value of your product or service will be used in your communication strategy.
Plaza (Distribution): How will I get my product or service to my clients?
You must analyze and decide if your business model will consider direct sales to customers or will be through a third party (distributor); You must also define if you will sell through e-commerce (online sale).
Post-sale: What will be the client’s experience after I sold him?
The post-sale strategy will be very important for your business. In this you must define your customer tracking strategy, since the idea is not only to buy you once, but to turn them into repeat customers of your product or service.
7. Action plan
In this final stage, you must develop a detailed plan, including the times and people responsible for each and every one of the activities to be carried out for the company. It is advisable to make a plan to one year and to break it down and review (if necessary) in quarterly and / or monthly periods, following up against the objectives previously set out in the plan.
Although the Marketing Plan is a document that requires time and effort, from my point of view, it adds a lot of value because it will not only become your execution manual, but it will also give you a clearer direction of where you want to take your business, and that’s essential for any company, be it big, medium or start-up.