Small Business Marketing Needs a Strong Plan to Implement Your Ideas

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One terrific place to find inexpensive help with small business marketing research and marketing is at the website of Palo Alto Software. We were initially attracted to this website because of its famous Business Plan Pro software, which we purchased. As we purchased it, we were made an offer we could not refuse on another program that they call Marketing Plan Pro. That software came with a 280-page book by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, who is an expert in small business marketing and steeped in the needs of the small business owner whose marketing plans may not include advertising during half time in the next Super Bowl.

Among the benefits of this program, is the ability of an entrepreneur to come up with a marketing plan in 30 minutes. This type of software is critical for everyone who will start a business because it is inexpensive, easy to use and could possibly save months or years of wasted time and money. Remember the story of the business executive who spent years climbing the ladder of success only to find that his ladder was against the wrong wall? Marketing Plan Pro and Business Plan Pro are two software programs that will save you from wasting your time.

Gathering the Facts on Your Market

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 marketing plans and more. What follows 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 makes you so special from your competition?
  • What is your price like in relation 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?
    • Personalized service?
    • Warrantee?
    • Easy access?
    • Selection?
    • Convenience?
    • Reliability or money back?
    • Affordability?
    • Availability?
    • 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 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?

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Here are some additional articles to read about small business marketing research and marketing in general. As we have mentioned elsewhere on this website, please purchase and read Jay Conrad Levinson's "Guerrilla Marketing." The book was first published in 1984 and has helped many a small entrepreneur learn about small business marketing and kick the butts of some very large companies.

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