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Developing Marketing Plan and Strategy


Developing successful marketing plan and strategy means creating a roadmap for your small business future.

Segment your Market

All customers are not the same. They have different needs, preferences, and budgets. Segmenting the market into a group of similar customers can help you develop a successful marketing strategy. Similar customers will respond in a similar way to your products, services, prices, and promotion. For example, some customers prefer to purchase online, others like talking in person and some customers like to save on everything they buy. Trying to satisfy every customer with the same approach is not going to be effective and profitable. Because of that you need to segment your market in a few segments which are similar and develop different approaches on how to target these segments, develop offerings for each segment and promote to each segment.

How can you segment your market?

Here are some examples you can use to thnk about the most appropriate way to segment your customers:

- location

- age

- income

- education

- previous buying habits

- how they respond to different advertising promotions

Learn more about Customer Segmentation in Marketing.


After you segment your customers next is to make a list of your competitors. Ask yourself the following questions:

- Who are the major competitors in this market?

- How different they are in delivering their products and services?

- How do they make money?

- How much they charge and what they offer to the customers?

After you answer these questions ask yourself what they do better than you do.

Value Proposition / Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Based on your market and customer segmentation now you can develop a marketing approach for your business. How I am going to compete and how I am going to satisfy the customers - your market approach. In order for your market approach to be successful you have to offer something different. You need to develop an effective value proposition or unique selling proposition. The Value proposition describes the way your business is different and how it will offer different solutions compared to competitors. in your vaue proposition you will list your products and service features and the benefits they deliver to your customers.  

How you are going to promote your business?         

Now you need to communicate your value proposition to your target market - communicate effectively, send clear message about your offering and tell your customers why they should buy your products and services. Examples:

- Advertising: print media, TV, radio, internet ads, search engine optimization, website marketing

- Public Relations: press releases, events

- Sales Promotion: special offerings, discounts, customer loyalty programs

- Community Involvement: sponsorship

Marketing ROI        

Key to effective marketing is measuring your promotional activities. Try to measure and keep track of different promotional activities. For example, how many customers do I get from my ad in newspaper and how much did it cost me to get these customers. Now you can compare different alternatives and improve your marketing return on investment in your next promotions.



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