Starting your own business is an exciting but also very stressful endeavor. In order to ensure the success of your business, you are going to want to conduct a lot of research and do a lot of preparation. An important aspect of your research and preparatory work includes creating an effective marketing plan because behind every successful product or service you will find a well-crafted marketing plan. If you have recently created your own business or are thinking of doing so in the near future, you’ll find useful information concerning the process of writing a marketing plan.

A marketing plan is a written manuscript that specifies what the necessary actions are in order to realize one or more marketing goals. Marketing plans can be crafted for a product, a service, a brand, or a product line and the objectives that they cover typically span between one and five years. In order to have an effective marketing plan, however, you also need to have a well thought out business plan and marketing strategy, which both serve as the foundation for the marketing plan. The business plan details your business’s financial and operational goals and policies and the marketing strategy is the overall direction a business plans to take in the hopes of focusing its finite resources on the best available opportunities so as to boost sales and gain a competitive advantage.

One of the key components of a marketing plan is the mission statement. In it, you are going to want to write a few sentences stating who your chief market is, what it is that you are selling (contribution), and what your unique selling proposition is (distinction).

There are several topics that a marketing plan should address. These topics include:

– market analysis details, sales advertising

– public relations campaigns

– as well both traditional and new media programs and strategies.

In order to conduct a thorough market analysis, you are going to want to collect and organize as much data as you can about the current market that will be purchasing and using your products or services. When doing this, some important aspects to consider include paying attention to market dynamics and patterns like seasonality, assessing the offerings of your competition, and keeping in mind who your targeted market is and what their demographics are.

A marketing plan should also offer descriptions of both your products and services and your competition. You want to detail how your products and services relate to the needs of the market and how they rise above what the marketing is currently offering. As far as your competition goes, you are going to want to detail what makes your product or service distinct and stand apart from your competitors.

Additional components to include in a marketing plan are product pricing details, where your product is going to be positioned in the market, and what your monthly budget is going to be.

After detailing all of the aforementioned information, you should be able to create quantifiable marketing goals for your business whose effectiveness should be closely monitored and revised as needed.

There are so many facets to evaluate and take into consideration when starting your own business, but if you take the time to first create a well thought out marketing plan, then you will be providing yourself with a great guide to keep you on the path towards success.

Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers is a great resource for those in the planning stages of their business.

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