Key Small Business Marketing Tip: Gather Facts on Market 1st

Whether or not you use a computer program or undertake your own small business marketing research with a pad and pencil, there are many things you need to find out about your product or service, your customer, your market and more.

Here are the beginnings of what you need to know to create a small business marketing plan. Do not rely solely on this list because it is incomplete--it is presented here only to give you an idea of the level of detail you need to know to come up with a strong small business marketing plan. Consult a marketing professional for more help.

  • What is your product or service that you will offer?
  • What is your geographical marketing area--your neighborhood, regional, country, the web?
  • Who is your direct competition?
  • Who else is your competition?
  • What separates you from the competition?
  • What are your prices like compared to the competition?
  • How does your competition promote his or her product?
  • How will you distribute your product?
  • Where is your location for selling your product?

Define Your Prospective or Current Customer

  • How would you describe your current customer based on age, race, sex, income and neighborhood?
  • How did (or how will) your customer learn about your current product or service?
  • The Yellow Pages?
  • The internet?
  • Direct mail?
  • Word of mouth?
  • Telemarketing?
  • Do you know anything about your current or prospective customer’s habits?
  • What do they read?
  • What do they watch on television?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What do they listen to?
  • What do your current customers (your prospective customers) value most about the product or service that you offer?
  1. Personalized service?
  2. Warranty?
  3. Easy access?
  4. Selection?
  5. Convenience?
  6. Reliability or money back?
  7. Affordability?
  8. Availability?
  9. Quick turnaround?
  • What does your current (or prospective) customers like least about your product or service?
  • How can you adjust these negatives?

Defining Your Budget and Plan

  • How will you test your marketing ideas before committing a lot of time, energy, emotion and money to them?
  • How will you measure results?
  • What previous market programs have you tried?
  • What methods have been most effective?
  • What marketing program can you implement immediately?
  • What methods have been least effective?
  • What percentage of profits can you allocate to marketing?
  • What are the best marketing tools to use given your budget?