Running a small business takes a lot of thought. Although agility is very important in the world of entrepreneurship, it is also a good idea to develop a marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy is the part of your business plan that describes how you will assess, promote and sell your product or service. It determines where your company fits in the market landscape and can serve as an integrated framework for the day-to-day operations of your small business. The work it takes to create a solid marketing plan can be a huge sales driver and can help your business run smoothly over time.
Developing an effective marketing strategy can feel daunting, especially for small businesses with little or no prior marketing experience. An easy way to start your strategy is to break down your business using the 4p’s Marketing.
- Product – Refers to the actual product or service that you offer on the market. This can include your brand name, your packaging, and your sales functionality.
- Promotion – describes how you want to market the product above. This can include things like advertising, sales, and online activity.
- Pricing – details of how you want to price your product or service and any variables that may appear with that price. Think about things like seasonal pricing, discount flexibility, and packaging when thinking about your overall business goals.
- Place – A place, also known as a sale, helps you determine how you will offer your product or service to customers. This includes logistics, inventory management, order processing, and, if necessary, a brick distribution plan.
Once you have identified the four P’s of your business, you can write down part of that marketing strategy from your business plan. When you create a marketing strategy, keep in mind the following to make sure it works as hard as possible for your small business:
- Make it Unique – One of the strongest aspects of your small business is the unique offering you have on the market. Find out what gives you a competitive edge and make it shine in all aspects of your marketing strategy. This edge, or unique selling proposition (USP), is the number one reason consumers choose your business over the competition.
- Customization – To market your business successfully, it’s important to define your target audience. Once you know who to talk to, you’ll have a better idea of the needs of a specific customer base and a clear audience to direct your marketing efforts.
- Stay Flexible – Every small business situation is different, so no two marketing strategies are the same. While the 4 P’s are a good starting point, you may need to modify them based on your business needs. For example, a “place” may be a physical place for some people but may only exist online for others.
- Stay within budget – remember to keep an eye on finances as you outline your marketing strategy. While most of your budget will be created in the financial analysis section of your business plan, it is important to keep that fence front and center to ensure that your marketing strategy is as realistic and achievable as possible.
Your marketing strategy is an integral part of how your business works. Customers will appreciate the time and effort you put in behind the scenes to strategically market your product or service, increase sales, and drive you. If you’ve been waiting to come up with a marketing strategy, the above will help you head in the right direction by giving you the tools you need to create a solid strategic framework for your company’s marketing needs.