PSU Insight

Writing Your Business Plan

Your Marketing Plan

Your Marketing Plan

For example, you need to define who you are marketing to. Who is your Target Market? Do you have more than one Target Market? Is it a specialized, niche market? How many potential clients (individuals or organizations) make up this market? Is the market growing, shrinking, or stable? What are their needs and problems? How much money can they spend? How much of the market have you sold to (or spoken to) to date? Can you sell to them (or speak to them) again? How much of the market are you capable of penetrating? How will you accomplish this?

That’s a lot of questions to answer. But we’ve only just started...

We just looked at your market as a whole. Now let’s consider your individual customers or clients. What is your Typical Customer Profile? If it’s an individual, what is his / her gender, age, educational background, income level and geographical location? If it’s an organization, how many members or employees does it have? What’s its history? Do you help the organization itself, or do you offer services to its individual members?

Your market and typical customer aren’t your only concerns. What’s your competition? Notice I ask “what?”, not “who?”; don’t limit yourself to other speakers and trainers. For example, if you’re an entertaining speaker, television can obviously be a big competitor. Also movies and theme parks. Books, training films, and adult education classes can be competition for educational speakers. And the Internet is introducing competition for your programs that has never existed before!

But the Internet isn’t just competition. It can also be your most powerful marketing tool. How are you going to use the Internet to market yourself and your products? How many URLs do you own? How many web sites do you have? How do people find your web sites? What do you want them to do when they visit your web sites?

But let’s get back to the idea of competition. Of course, your primary competition probably is other speakers and trainers. What other professional speakers speak on your topic? How are you better than them? How are they better than you? What’s unique about you? Why do your audiences value that uniqueness?

You’re still not done. The world is changing so rapidly, it’s dangerous to focus solely on your market as it exists today. How stable is your market? Is it growing, shrinking, or simply changing? What new markets exist? How can you uncover new markets that you haven’t previously considered? What is your long-term marketing strategy, as opposed to your immediate marketing activities?

Finally, this is possibly the most important question of all —

What market penetration methods will you use to reach your target market? Cold calling? Warm calling? Networking? Direct mail? Multi-page letters? Postcards? Showcasing? Newsletters? Ezines? Articles? Magalogs? Organic SEO for your web site? Pay-per-click? Space ads in print media? Advertising? Publicity? Sponsorships? Free seminars?

Have you considered viral marketing? What about guerrilla marketing? If you market yourself the same way that your competitors do, you’ll have a hard time standing out from the crowd. What can you do that’s different (and effective)?

Unfortunately, you can’t be certain how effective a particular marketing effort will be — especially the first time you try it. You can predict its expected effectiveness, but you won’t know for sure until you try it. So it’s also vital that you measure the effectiveness of your marketing activities, so you can tell if a particular marketing effort is cost effective.

So you’ve got other questions to answer. How effective do you expect your marketing activities to be? How can you measure their levels of success? Is making a trial run a good idea? (Is it even possible?)

In summary, your marketing efforts are too important to be driven by instinct or hunches or trial-and-error. By defining your Marketing Plan in detail, you enhance your chances of success dramatically.