Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Easy Steps to Create a Basic Marketing Plan
By Victoria Munro
“I know we need a marketing
plan, but I’m not sure where to start. And, quite
frankly, I don’t have time to stop and figure
it out.” This comment made recently by a client
is typical of the dilemma faced by many small business
owners. We know that we need
a marketing plan, but the thought of taking time to
write one can seem overwhelming.
plan needn’t be complicated. It’s
far better to start with a simple written plan that
you can follow, tweak and track, than winging it until
you have time to produce a full-scale marketing plan.
A simple written plan will provide a guide to work from,
clearly define your goals and organize all those bright
ideas floating around in your brain. This plan will
also serve as a starting point when you choose to write
a more extensive plan.
Use the Six-Step Process Below to
Create Your Basic Marketing Plan
Step One: What do you sell?
your product, including the features and benefits.
Make a list of each product or service you offer, and
under each one, list the corresponding benefits to the
Write out a clear, succinct USP, describing
how your product or service differs from those of your
Step Two: To whom do you sell?
Create a detailed customer profile:
If you market directly to
consumers, list demographics: age, gender, lifestyle,
location, preferences, interests, etc. Where do they
go? What do they read? Listen to? Watch?
If you market to businesses,
describe your ideal business client, include the size
of company, number of employees, gross sales, location,
What do they want? What concerns and challenges do
they face, especially those your product addresses?
Make a note here of any seasonal patterns
such as peak buying periods or slow times. Perhaps brainstorm
bonus offerings you could add during slow seasons to
increase and even out your cash flow.
Step Three: What are you going to
Write a marketing message directed specifically to
your target customer. Focus on the benefits (not features)
you offer. Concentrate on one
thing: what’s in it for them!
Step Four: Where are you now?
You need this as a benchmark for future
Make a note of current marketing activities, the costs
involved and, if possible, the revenue they generate.
Step Five: Where do you want to
be and when?
Visualize your business one,
two and five years from now. What will it look like?
Be specific. Consider what changes will need to take
place to achieve the future you want for this business.
Step Six: How do you plan to get
Define specific, realistic marketing
goals. Plan how you will measure the results.
which marketing strategies you will use, for
example: networking, cold calling, mailings, advertising,
website, emails, promotional events. Select two or three
you could use to jump-start your marketing.
the best tactics for each of the strategies you’ve
selected. For example, if you chose networking as a
strategy, your tactics might be to attend certain events
each week, revise your 30-second commercial and produce
marketing materials to hand out.
time and dollar resources for each strategy you’ve
Work Your Plan
plan, regularly review progress, track the results and
modify where necessary. When something produces
good results, stick with it. If it doesn’t work,
stop or adapt it. When I ran a large residential maid
service, I discovered that my expensive Yellow Page
ad only brought in business during the summer months,
when we were already working at maximum capacity, while
postcards with discount coupons mailed to targeted new
home owners, at a fraction of the cost, brought a steady
stream of ideal clients. Tracking results made good
marketing decisions easy.
By writing one step a day or one step
each week, you’ll soon have a simple written marketing
plan to guide you and ensure that you get the best return
on your marketing dollar as you grow your company
in the right direction.
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
businesses. To receive FREE business success articles
with tips to help you with your business, sign up for
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