Q When a new start-up is in the beginning stages of creating a marketing plan, what are some of the essential steps that should be taken?
A Creation of a marketing plan must always begin with a comprehensive analysis of the current market situation. The first step is assessing how the various social, technological, political and economic elements impact the marketplace.
Next, develop a clear understanding of what customers' "pain points" are, what drives their behavior, and what solutions competitors are already providing them right now.
Overall, this analysis will provide you with a clear understanding of gaps in the market and how your products or service may provide a differentiated solution to fill those gaps. It will also provide a basis for setting goals.
The next step is identifying and understanding the market segment you want to target and deciding what your overall marketing offering will be. Important decisions here include finalizing product features, setting pricing, determining your distribution methods and making marketing communication decisions. Remember that when these elements fit together well, they are able to create or add value to customers' overall experience with your product or service.
Your marketing plan must lay out in great detail the specifics of all the activities and programs that sales and marketing personnel will need to carry out in the field. This includes creating a schedule of activities and identifying the person responsible for that activity. Failure to outline implementation details may jeopardize execution of the plan.
It is also important to define parameters that will help you assess the in-process success or failure of your marketing activities vis-à-vis your objectives and to take corrective measures if needed.
UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS
OPUS COLLEGE OF BUSINESS