Marketing Plans Must be Specifically Designed to Drive Revenue
Entrepreneurs are a special breed. Solving problems and finding pain points in the marketplace to make our lives better is a cause worth fighting for in today’s world. The concept of an entrepreneur is equal to freedom. The freedom to make choices and be empowered as an individual to make a series of complex decisions to achieve future success is enviable and part of the American way.
Understanding how to identify one’s target market and develop an effective marketing plan is one key to driving sales and being a resourceful business owner.
A marketing plan is nothing more than a roadmap to get from point A to point B. The road is often paved with many obstacles and hurdles. Research analysis is the key to understanding the target market, market trends and competitors. Data analysis and marketing plan adjustments should be a business mainstay. Over time, the business owner should expect to incorporate new data inputs to accommodate changes in the market at regular intervals. Time and resources are not abundant when launching or growing a business; therefore, research should be the foundation of a sound marketing plan.
It is important to know your audience and understand how the services or products your business offers will help these customers in your target market. A marketing message that resonates with the target audience(s) will make the difference and assist the business in achieving its strategic goals.
The most significant reason for entrepreneurs to spend time developing a marketing plan is to have a tactical approach to drive revenue. The business should develop a unique value proposition that meets a need in the market and is clearly identifiable by the target market. Finally, the marketing plan answers the questions: who, what, when, where, how, how much and why, and explains the allocated budget and metrics to identify return on investment to acquire sales for an identified period of time.
I have read and watched thousands of business plan pitches for funding startups and growth-stage businesses. It is amazing how many entrepreneurs and those on the management team do not understand their revenue model. The fixed and variable costs associated from beginning to end are critical facts to know because they come out of gross profit before it can be used for anything else. Equally important are costs associated with acquiring a customer and making a sale. These facts must be detailed in a well-developed marketing plan. The successful entrepreneur and management team must also understand how these aspects affect the return on investment and the profit to the revenue model.
Developing consensus among the owners or key stakeholders within the business is essential. The management team must agree about whom the business will initially target and then develop a specific marketing campaign to acquire a certain number of customers within the target market. A consensus team approach, in addition to developing a specific metric hurdle to determine tactics, is vital. Communication is the key to developing a strong management team, a successful marketing plan and a profitable business.
Key items to consider when putting together a marketing plan for the first time:
- Does the product and/or service require a website to meet my customer base or target audience? If so, do I have expertise in technology and creating relevant content? If not, what are steps to create a public site? Begin research. What is the fastest way to get the word out to gain traction and proof of concept in the market? Am I doing this now? If so, how effective is it, and what are the goals and timelines? If not, what are the steps necessary to meet the goals?
- What are all the ways to leverage resources, such as social media, identifying business partners, telling my story, engaging the media and growing my network? How do I identify whether these tactics work to acquire customers in my target market?
- How do I identify the appropriate target market, expand and stage the growth into additional markets? Will my marketing plan change and does the market have different or similar needs?
South Florida Business Journal