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Business Plan and Start Up Newsletter Issue #1032-The Essential Contents of a Marketing Plan
July 20, 2006

Business Plan And Start Up Newsletter

July 2006
Written by Shaunta Pleasant
President, TL Manage Inc.

Business Plan Pro 2006...

Everything banks; lenders and the SBA look for! Produce your business plan quickly and easily... For entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Business Plan Pro 2006


********Table of Content********

The Essential Contents of a Marketing Plan ...

10 Marketing Tools For Home Based Businesses...

A Few Cool Helpful Notes...


The Essential Contents of a Marketing Plan
Excerpt from On Target: The Book on Marketing Plans by Tim Berry and Doug Wilson

Every marketing plan has to fit the needs and situation. Even so, there are standard components you just can't do without. A marketing plan should always have a situation analysis, marketing strategy, sales forecast, and expense budget.

  • Situation Analysis: Normally this will include a market analysis, a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), and a competitive analysis. The market analysis will include market forecast, segmentation, customer information, and market needs analysis.
  • Marketing Strategy: This should include at least a mission statement, objectives, and focused strategy including market segment focus and product positioning.
  • Sales Forecast: This would include enough detail to track sales month by month and follow up on plan-vs.-actual analysis. Normally a plan will also include specific sales by product, by region or market segment, by channels, by manager responsibilities, and other elements. The forecast alone is a bare minimum.
  • Expense Budget: This ought to include enough detail to track expenses month by month and follow up on plan-vs.-actual analysis. Normally a plan will also include specific sales tactics, programs, management responsibilities, promotion, and other elements. The expense budget is a bare minimum.

Are They Enough?
These minimum requirements above are not the ideal, just the minimum. In most cases you'll begin a marketing plan with an Executive Summary, and you'll also follow those essentials just described with a review of organizational impact, risks and contingencies, and pending issues.

Include a Specific Action Plan
You should also remember that planning is about the results, not the plan itself. A marketing plan must be measured by the results it produces. The implementation of your plan is much more important than its brilliant ideas or massive market research. You can influence implementation by building a plan full of specific, measurable and concrete plans that can be tracked and followed up. Plan-vs.-actual analysis is critical to the eventual results, and you should build it into your plan.


10 Marketing Tools For Home Based Businesses
By Annette Thomas

1. Direct mail. With the rise of email marketing, direct mail has fallen out of favor. But it is still a cost-effective way to advertise in many industries. To be successful, your direct-mail piece should look professional and feature well-written copy. Hire a professional copywriter and designer if these skills are beyond you ability. You may even be able to barter for design or writing work.

2. Voicemail. Even the outgoing message on your answering machine or voicemail system can help promote your business when utilized correctly. Make sure your message provides additional product or service information so that it is working for you, even in the middle of the night.

3. Brochures. Brochures are still an effective way to present your product or service to new customers. They are relatively cheap and easy to print and you can distribute them by mail or by leaving them at locations where they will be noticed. A professional-looking brochure can help convince potential customers that are still “on the fence” about your products.

4. Press releases. The only thing better than cheap publicity is free publicity, and well-timed, professional press releases can result in just that. By timing a product launch or promotion to coincide with a related local or national event, you may be able to get editors to include your release in their media vehicle, be it newspaper, radio, or television.

5. Case studies. Case studies aren't just for scientific applications. Studies of your products in action can help your potential customers learn more and make an educated decision before they buy.

6. Referrals. Referrals are probably the single best way to find new customers. If you do something well, chances are people are going to talk about it. Offering incredible customer service to your clients will ensure that you end up with satisfied customers who are willing to share your information with their friends and colleagues.

7. Radio interviews. If you can speak knowledgably about your product or service and tie it in well with current events, radio interviews are a great way to reach a wide audience and improve your customer base.

8. Affiliate programs. Online affiliate programs are one of the most cost-effective ways to market your products to a wide range of potential customers. It's like having the benefit of a commission-based sales force, but without any of the hassles of managing actual employees.

9. A well-designed Web site. Your Web site will be the first impression for your company for many of your customers. Make it a good one. Your site should provide information about your product or service in a clear and intuitive format. Many people prefer to do their research online before making a purchase, so make sure your site leaves them with the right impression.

10. Ezines or Newsletters. When you provide interesting and informative content related to the products you sell, you can turn a subscriber list into a frequent buyer list. If you do not have the time to run your own ezine or newsletter, you can submit articles with your information to different publications. When you are perceived as a knowledgeable expert, potential customers know that they can rely on you for quality information and quality products.

Annette thomas is a freelance business writer and marketer. Annette has written several articles for online business magazines. She has just launched her new e commerce is a an online retailer of handmade gift baskets, corporate gift baskets, holiday gift baskets,coporate gifts, and more. You may visit online at:

Article Source:


A Few Cool Helpful Notes

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