Whether you want to develop a marketing plan for investors or simply want to organize your thoughts before marketing your product, your marketing plan should focus on the following questions:
- What is your product? Describe your product in detail, including features that are unique or different about your product. You need to understand the benefits of this product and why is there a need for it.
- Who is your target market? If you want to market a tanning product that is guaranteed not to fade for three weeks, it could be geared towards both women and men - but if there’s a reason that this product is targeted to men between the ages of 21-39, you will want to explain that in this section along with your market research findings.
- What is your marketing strategy? This is the crux of developing your marketing plan. Your marketing strategy should include pricing (you may want to test selling the product at more than one price); marketing efforts such as TV, radio, newspapers and online marketing; and defining the key selling points of the product. You’ll also want to consider where and how you’ll be selling your product: will it be available in stores only, or will you offer this product online?
- Who are your competitors? Marketers have been reinventing the wheel for hundreds of years and if you aren’t aware of your competition, they could run you into the ground before your product even goes to market. Your marketing plan should include a list of top competitors and how your marketing strategy will differentiate your product from theirs.
- How will your company operate? Even if you already have an established business, you’ll want to describe the policies for the new product. For instance: who will be manufacturing and distributing the product? How will customer service be handled? You should also include information on the physical location of your day-to-day business operations and whether or not there other employees are contributing to your efforts.
- What are your sales projections? Investors will want to see sales projections, operating costs, profit and loss reports, and other financial statements. It’s standard to provide this information for the first three years that you’ll be marketing the product.
Don’t forget that a marketing plan is a work in progress. You should review it periodically and update it as the market and your strategies change.