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Home » Start up Advice

10 Days to Start Up: Day 7- Marketing

This is the seventh part of the 10 days to starting a business series. In case you missed the earlier articles in the series you can catch up here.

Today we’re going to focus on Marketing, the essential ingredient to letting people know that you’re open and ready for business. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got the best product or service in the world, if no one knows that you exist, then you aren’t going to do much business.

That’s where marketing comes in.

Please share with us in the comments at the end of the post your thoughts and experiences about Marketing.

What is Marketing?

The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines Marketing as:

The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably

Basically Marketing is about understanding customers and providing them with products and services which meet their demands. Marketing should not be confused with selling.

Marketing Plan

When you’re starting out it’s important to show customers that you exist. From your Business Plan you will have already identified who your target market is, a Marketing Plan is about telling these potential customers that you exist.

A Marketing Plan is a list of all your intentions for getting clients and communicating with them it will normally be split in to separate but related activities which all have the common aim of promoting your business to your target market.

Many people think of a Marketing Plan as detailing all of your advertising plans. However, this is only one strand. Your Marketing plan should cover all aspects of your business. From your logo, to your website, to your packaging and your customer experience.

But it’s not just about pushing your products or services to customers and hoping that they will buy some product as essentially traditional advertising has become. You may also want to create a buzz around your products or services so that other people talk about your products or services using social media, like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

For example, UK based betting exchange, Betfair, has recently signed a deal with the British Beach Volley Ball Team to put Quick Response (QR) codes on the back of thier bikini bottoms. Typing “GB Beach Volley Ball Team rent out backsides” into Google, at the time of writing, pulls up over 383,000 search results and the deal was announced only 3 days ago.  The value of this publicity to Betfair is worth many times the costs of the advertising deal.

What buzz can you create around your business?

Simply asking people in your network for referrals could help you generate business. But be specific. For example, instead of asking anyone if they know anyone who needs insurance, ask them “if they know anyone in a two person professional family with young children”. Being specific makes it easier for them to identify and refer people who might need your products or services.

Another way of getting referrals is to pay people a commission for refering someone to you. Rather like online businesses do with their affilate programmes.  Paying someone a commission for every successful client they pass your way could be a great way to ensure you get targeted leads.

What do you know about your target market?

Your business plan will have identified your target market, for example hairdresses, IT Professionals, etc, but your Marketing Plan is all about connecting with the target market.

So make sure you know the answers to the questions such as:

  • Where does your target market hang out?
  • What are thier interests?
  • What do they read?

The more you know about your target market the more effectively you can communicate with them.

How to Create a Marketing Plan

Most Marketing Plans cover a period of a one year and are split between monthly activities, quarterly and annual activities. Although this is a living document and once created it should be reveiwed regularly.

Your Marketing Plan should include:

  • Thorough analysis of your market
  • The Marketing message you are trying to convey
  • How you’re going to get the message across
  • The promotion strategy
  • Cost estimates

The Marketing Plan should be closely linked to the aims and objectives of your business. You should seek to get everyone (or at least as many different areas) from your business involved as possible.

Once the plan is agreed,  make sure that everyone knows what the plan is and what is involved, so that  the marketing activities are  understood and supported. For instance, if you were a food company, it would be pointless having a big pricing promotion just as the factory has closed down for it’s annual deep clean. So make sure that areas affected by activities within the plan agree to the implications and timings.

Marketing Plan v’s Business Plan

A business plan explains what the business does and how it does it. It explains what the business does and what it doesn’t do. To some extent it’s the constitution of your business. Therefore, a Marketing Plan needs to support the vision contained within the business plan. For example if your vision is to make high end luxury cars, the Marketing Plan shouldn’t focus on the pricing  or discount, but on the luxury of the car itself.

A Marketing Plan needs to be consistent with a business plan.

What is your experience of creating a Marketing Plan? Lets hear your thoughts in the comments below.

14 Comments »

  • Benji Margolese said:

    This post is a great start!
    I recently took on a new online marketing management position and I have very little marketing experience. This post explains what I needed to help me create a plan necessary to do the job I was hired for.
    I will still need a lot of help, but this provides me with some of the questions I need to concentrate on.
    Thanks!

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Glad it’s been of help Benji, really appreciate the comments. Matthew

  • BizSugar.com said:

    How to create a marketing plan…

    Why you need a marketing plan and how to create one. This is the seventh part of the 10 days to starting a business series. In case you missed the earlier articles in the series you can catch up here. Today we’re going to focus on Marketing, the essent…

  • Jamie McMillin said:

    Very nice summary. For someone like me with no business background, and no time to get one, it’s nice to read a condensed simple explanation of what to do and how to do it!
    Thanks!

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi Jamie, thanks for the comment here. I really appreciate it. Glad to be of help, good luck with you book launch!

  • Sam said:

    Hey Matthew,

    Loving the series so far. A marketing plan is highly dependent upon your business plan so if you don’t know who you’re going after, you’re marking will be useless no matter how much you spend on it. I like that you’re going in a specific order which will make people a lot more successful.

    When I had an online radio station I was lucky that I didn’t really have to mess with too much marketing because SOE, and then ultimately WB took over, so they handled all the heavy lifting for us. Seeing the corporate marking in action is quite interesting.

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi Sam, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. You’re absolutely right. A business plan tells everyone where you’re going and a marketing plan shows you how to get there. It’s interesting you mention about marketing, so many creatives pay little attention to it, but it’s really important in helping you get your message across, even if you’re not selling anything.

    Thanks again, Matthew

  • Saya said:

    You covered very important issues. Working on marketing with a detailed plan is very helpful. I agree with Sam, many people confuse marketing plan with business plan.
    Thanks for the post.
    Saya

  • Steve Gordon said:

    Matthew,

    I just finished catching up with this series. Well done! This is really practical advice for people contemplating business ownership. I get prospective clients coming to me regularly who are in the process of starting up and are focused on the wrong things. You’ve done a great job of keeping to the essentials!

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi Steve, thanks so much for the feedback here. Glad you’ve enjoyed it. I think a lot of people get overwhelmed when starting out, but it needn’t be that way, as you say just stick to the essentilals and everything else should follow.

    Thanks again, Matthew

  • Brian Yang said:

    I’ll be taking my first marketing class as this school semester comes close.

    Somehow I think this straight forward and condensed version will be very useful.

    Thanks again.

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Thanks for the comment here Brian. Good luck with your studies next semester!

    Matthew

  • Jason Spencer said:

    In the startups I’ve participated in, both online and offline, I think the most important aspect of the marketing plans were the core differentiation or USP (unique selling proposition). If you don’t know what sets you apart and what makes you different then the competition, then you’ve got a serious problem. I think John Jantsch actually laid this out perfectly in his book, Duct Tape Marketing. The other related piece right behind the USP is the killer offer. I learned about this first from Mark Joyner’s Irresistible Offer book and have heard other bloggers like Jeff Walker and Jonathan Meade lay it out well, and I’m sure you’ve covered here on The Big Red Tomato Company too, Matthew.

    Great post!

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi Jason, thanks for the comment. I think that’s a really good point that you’ve made. Getting the USP right is really important. I’ve read John’ Jantsch’s blog, but I’ve not read the book, sounds like it’s worth checking out with Mark Joyner’s book too! Thanks for the great tips, much appreciated. Matthew