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How to write a business plan with special emphasis on marketing

How to write a business plan with special emphasis on marketing

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  • 1. Marketing Your Company Business Plan - Marketing REDI Susan Prince March 10, 2010
  • 2. About the Instructor
    • I’m Susan Prince and I’m the owner and President of Cadence Marketing.
    • We’ve been helping small to medium sized businesses become better marketers for over 6 years. We truly believe good marketing can make a difference.
    • [email_address]
  • 3. Ground Rules
    • This is not a lecture
    • I’m here to help you figure out how to market your product or service
    • Ask questions and add your two cents
    • You’ll be doing some work
      • Exercises
      • Group problems
    • Like anything, you will get out of marketing what you put in to it
  • 4. Agenda
    • The Business Plan
    • Marketing Basics
      • What is marketing?
      • Why is it important?
    • Planning for success
      • How to assemble the key components of a marketing plan
    • Marketing strategies you can manage and afford
  • 5. Today’s Goals
    • By the end of the class you should be able to write the Business sections of your business plan including :
        • Clearly articulate your company’s product/service
        • Research and understand the competitive and economic environment
        • Establish your business goals
        • Identify marketing tactics
  • 6. The Business Plan
    • Why do you need a plan?
    • Answer 3 main questions:
      • Why are you starting the business
      • How you will run the business
      • How you will make money
  • 7. The Business Plan
    • Feasibility of your idea
      • Is there a market and how much can you sell
      • Do you have the skills needed to run the business
      • Can the business make a profit
    • Operating Plan
      • Identify opportunities and avoid mistakes
      • Create budgets and projections
    • Communicates your idea if you need to sell your idea
      • How much financing do you need
      • Forecast profitability and investor return
      • Forecast cash flow
  • 8. The Business Plan
    • Every plan needs the following 3 sections:
      • 1. Executive Summary – most important part of the plan, where you make your case
      • 2. A written description of the Management and Marketing details of the business
      • 3. Financial projections
      • Add supporting documentation as attachments
        • Resumes
        • Reference letters
        • Additional product information – i.e., diagrams, schematics
  • 9. Executive Summary
    • Always write this section last
    • Try to keep it to 2 pages maximum
    • Make your case as to why this business is a good idea and why it will succeed
  • 10. Financial Projections
    • This section will not be covered in detail
    • Basically you want to describe:
      • How much money you need to start the business
        • Start-up costs: rent, equipment, licenses, etc.
      • The profit margin for your business
        • The price of your product and how much it will cost to make it
      • How much revenue and profit you will make
        • Estimate sales
        • Estimate costs of sales and gross profit
  • 11. Business Plan Sections
    • The written section of the plan
      • Description of business
      • Products/services
      • Marketing Analysis
      • Marketing Plan
      • Competition
      • Management and Operations
      • Personnel
      • Financing needs
  • 12. Business Description
    • Name
    • Type of Business (industry)
    • Business form
      • Sole Proprietorship
      • Partnership
      • Corporation
      • LLC
    • What products and services you offer
    • Who are your customers
  • 13. Business Description
    • Start with the basics:
    • Write down your company name: ______________________________________
    • What type of company is it (industry): ______________________________________
    • List of company services: ______________________________________
  • 14. Company Description
    • How do you answer the question “What will your company do?”
    • Do you describe the products you make?
    • Do you list the services you offer?
    • Don’t tell your customers what you do - Tell them how you solve their problems.
  • 15. Core Marketing Message
    • Develop a core marketing message and incorporate it throughout your marketing.
      • A killer elevator speech: This may seem like a minor point, but if you can’t clearly articulate what you do in terms your audience can relate to, you will miss key selling opportunities.
      • Consistent marketing messages: You want every marketing communication to have the same message.
  • 16. Exercise # 1
    • Let’s test your current marketing message:
      • Role Playing: You are at a networking event and trying to make contacts
      • Pair off and find out what the other person does
  • 17. Exercise #1
    • Can you tell me what your partner does?
    • Do you know who they do it for?
    • Were you thinking about whether they could do something for you? Or someone you know?
  • 18. Your Company Description with a difference
    • The Core Marketing Message:
      • Communicates what you do in a way that articulates the value your customers get when they work with you.
      • What kinds of customers do you help?
      • How do you help them?
  • 19. Core Marketing Message
    • Now make it relevant to your customers:
    • Write down the problems you solve
    • __________________________________
    • List who has these problems
    • ____________________________________
    • List why someone would choose you ___________________________________
  • 20. Product description
    • Describe what you offer
    • Include features and benefits
    • What makes you special
    • How does that compare to the competition
    • Why will customers buy from you
  • 21. Your Market
    • What does your market look like?
      • Overall size of market – either number of customers or dollars spent on your product/service
      • Is it growing? (This may be obvious, but make sure your market isn’t flat or shrinking)
  • 22. Market Analysis
    • Take the time upfront to do your homework
    • Research, research, research
      • Your customers
      • Your competitors
      • Your environment
    • Begin compiling lots of information
  • 23. Market Research
    • You can find information about your specific market in a variety of places:
      • Library
      • Internet
      • Industry Associations
      • Directories
    • See attached list for a more comprehensive list
  • 24. Market Segmentation
    • Are there different segments to your market?
      • Do you know what a market segment is?
      • A market segment is a way of grouping potential customers
      • You can’t be all things to all people
      • Find your niche
  • 25. Market Segmentation
    • Many ways to segment your market:
      • Demographic segments
        • Income levels (or your product/service price)
        • Company size and industry if marketing to businesses
        • Geographic location
        • Male/Female
        • Customer age
      • Psychographic (what makes people want to buy your product)
        • Are they brand/status conscious
        • What values and attitudes do they bring to the purchase decision
          • Want to look good
          • Want to be healthy
          • Want to be popular/successful
  • 26. Market Segmentation
    • This isn’t always cut and dried
    • Example: Toyota Prius – cuts across lots of market segments
      • People interested in the environment
      • People who want an inexpensive car
      • People who want a car that’s cheap to run
      • Hip people (it’s become a status symbol in LA)
    • Toyota doesn’t just market to one segment and may run different types of ads depending on the audience
  • 27. Market Segmentation
    • Exercise:
      • Take a few minutes to jot down the different segments in your market. Think about all the different types of people who will buy your product or service, and which are the most logical way to group them.
      • I.e., a dry cleaner’s market may be segmented by service/price and geography.
      • The market for accounting firms may be segmented by the type of company or size.
  • 28. What’s Your Target Market
    • Once you decide how to segment your market, you must decide which segments will be your target market.
    • It is crucial to narrow down your market so you can tailor your marketing efforts to those customers who represent the most likely group to buy your product/service.
  • 29. What’s Your Target Market
    • Profile your ideal customer
      • Make a list of the characteristics of your perfect customer
    • Make sure your target market is:
      • Measurable in quantitative terms
      • Big enough to meet your sales goals
      • Can access your product/service
      • Will respond to your marketing efforts
  • 30. What’s Your Target Market
    • Other considerations:
      • How strong is the competition – will you have to battle for customers?
      • Can you differentiate your product from your competitors?
      • Are your competitors constantly introducing new products/enhancements?
      • Can other competitors quickly and easily enter your market?
  • 31. Know You Competitors
    • Who will you be competing against?
      • List all potential competitors for your product/service
      • Who will be your strongest competition?
        • Why?
        • Do they have any areas of weakness?
      • How are you different from them?
      • How do they promote and advertise their product/service?
      • What do they say in their advertising?
  • 32. Know your Environment
    • PEST Analysis
    • P – Political Factors
      • Govt., regulatory issues
    • E – Economic Factors
      • Recession, economic up tick
    • S – Social Factors
      • Social trends, fads, other demographic issues
    • T – Technological Factors
      • Changes in technology that would affect your product/service
  • 33. Marketing is not evil
    • Most people just starting out in business think marketing means “advertising and selling”
    • A necessary evil
    • A waste of money
    • A distraction from what’s really important – my product or service
  • 34. Marketing isn’t rocket science
    • Marketing is not advertising
      • Although advertising is part of marketing
    • Marketing is not sales
      • Although good marketing can help your sales effort
    • Developing good marketing isn’t hard
    • Good marketing comes from thinking about what your customers get
    • What do you offer and why should I care
  • 35. Marketing is important
    • Marketing does work and in fact is the single most important aspect of your business.
    • Without marketing you have no customers, and without customers you have no business.
      • You may think you can get customers without actively marketing
      • But your customers come to you because of they understand the value you offer them – which believe it or not is marketing!
  • 36. What is Marketing Then? Marketing is how you communicate the value of your product/service Marketing creates the sales opportunity
  • 37. Are You Ready to Market?
    • You are unique and so is your business
    • You now need to communicate that uniqueness to the marketplace
  • 38. Positioning Statement
    • Flesh this out with a few bullet points to describe what you want your customers to perceive about your product:
    • Example:
      • Volvo – safety, durability
      • Pontiac – excitement
      • Honda - reliability
  • 39. Positioning Exercise
    • We’ll take a few minutes to complete the attached worksheet.
    • Pair off and explain your business to your partner.
      • Is it clear why someone would choose your business over another?
      • Can you concisely describe what makes your idea unique?
  • 40. Goals and Objectives
    • Do you have sales goals?
      • Concrete and measurable (either in dollars or number of units sold)
      • Will it be a stretch to reach?
      • You need a timeframe to reach these goals
    • Write them down…
    • Without goals, how will you know how your business is doing?
    • Sample sales and marketing objective:
      • To increase sales by 20% by year end
  • 41. Marketing Strategies and Tactics
    • Okay, now for the meat and potatoes
    • The famous Marketing Mix
    • 4 P’s of marketing:
      • Product
      • Price
      • Place (how and where your product is distributed)
      • Promotion
    • These are decisions you control that will impact the success of your business
  • 42. Product/Service Overview
    • You need to fully describe:
      • Your product and its purpose
      • Features and benefits (do you know the difference?)
        • Example: This coat is 100% down filled vs. I’ll stay warm when it’s cold outside
      • Packaging – if relevant
      • Warranties
  • 43. Price
    • Do you know how much to charge for your product?
      • Price says a lot about your product
      • While customers look for value – they are leery of something that is “cheap”
      • How are you priced relative to your competition?
        • If it’s higher, can you justify the higher price?
      • Make sure you cover your margins and ensure a reasonable level of profit
  • 44. Place
    • Where and how will you deliver your product or service?
    • If you’re selling a product, make sure you sell in an outlet that matches your products position
      • For example, you won’t find mink coats at Walmart
    • If you’re offering a service, does the environment where you deliver the service match your product
      • For example, you won’t want to have corporate customers come to your home (as a consultant). You’ll need professional office space or only visit onsite.
  • 45. Place
    • Sample Distribution Channels
      • Retail outlets (stores)
      • Wholesale – selling through an intermediary
      • Direct Mail – i.e., catalogs
      • Telemarketing – probably not a good idea
      • Internet – selling direct to customers
      • Sales force – typically a business to business company
  • 46. Promotion
    • This is the fun part of marketing…
    • Create your message about your product/service
    • Use marketing tactics to spread that message
    • Know your customers and you’ll know the right way to reach them
  • 47. Promotion Options
    • Channels to promote your product/service
      • Internet
      • advertising
      • public relations/publicity
      • direct marketing
      • promotions/events
      • collateral (marketing materials, including website)
      • premiums (give-aways)
      • sales force
  • 48. Internet
    • Website
      • Crucial in today’s environment – has to be professional and communicate information
      • Don’t stop there!
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Search Engine Marketing
  • 49. Advertising
    • Can be useful to build awareness of your company and support your positioning
    • Don’t do any advertising until you have nailed down your positioning statement
    • Media options:
      • Newspapers
      • TV
      • Radio
      • Magazines
      • Billboards
      • Web banner ads
      • flyers
      • Directory listings
  • 50. Public Relations
    • What exactly is PR?
      • Communicating with the press
    • It’s free advertising of the best kind
      • Unbiased
    • Includes:
      • Press Releases – you can write these yourself
      • Interviews
      • Opinion pieces
      • Speeches at trade shows, conventions, etc
      • Being on local, regional, national programs
      • Community involvement
  • 51. Direct Marketing
    • Selling to your database (or one you purchase)
      • Direct mail
        • Letters (may include brochure/response card)
        • Postcards
        • Mailed premiums
      • Email
      • Faxes – only to existing customers (you don’t want to go to jail)
      • Telemarketing – again only good for existing customers
    • If your database if solid, you can really target your message to the right audience
  • 52. Promotions/Events
    • An incentive to act:
      • Coupons
      • Discounts/sales
      • Samples
      • Rebates
      • Premium give-aways
      • Sweepstakes/games
      • Point-of-purchase displays
      • Events
  • 53. Product Literature
    • Corporate Identity and branding
      • Logo, color choices
      • Letterhead, business cards
    • Brochures
    • Product Information
    • Contracts, other documentation
    • Website (non-transactional)
  • 54. Premiums
    • Items to give-away to customers/prospects
    • Have your company logo on them
    • Have the premium support your position/message
      • Pedometers/water bottles for a health organization
      • Calendars/memo pads for a printing company
  • 55. Sales Force
    • They are your promotion strategy brought to life
    • Your sales force should know your product, what makes it unique and be able to effectively communicate that information to your prospects
  • 56. So many choices – so little money
    • How do you decide which promotion options to choose?
      • The ones that your customers will actually see and respond to
      • Every company is its own unique situation
    • Again, the better you know your customers and their habits, the easier it is
  • 57. Where to begin?
    • Set a budget
    • Choose a good graphic and/or website designer
    • Order quality business cards, corporate materials
    • You need a website
    • Try different things to see what works
    • There is no magic formula – it depends on your product, your market and your message
  • 58. Congratulations!
    • You just created a marketing plan!
    • These are all the components of a thorough marketing plan…
  • 59. Parting Words
    • YOU can do marketing
      • Know your product/service
      • Know what’s going on in the marketplace
        • Other competitors
        • Economic factors, trends
      • Stay focused on your goals
    • You will always be your own best salesperson and marketing expert!
  • 60. Follow-up
    • Feel free to contact me if you have more questions
    • Susan Prince
    • Principal
    • Cadence Marketing
    • 206 Evans Street
    • Rockville, MD 20850
    • www.cadencemarketing.com
    • 301.340-2520