How to Set a Marketing Plan That Fits Your Business

When you are developing a startup business, you have many elements to consider. Among the most important is your marketing strategy. After all, without marketing, potential customers won’t even know that your business exists. Yet not just any strategy will do. To be successful, you need to consider a few factors.

The rules of thumb for marketing budget, companies are supposed to spend around 5 to 10 percent of their total revenue on marketing to stay competitive. The amount a business should budget varies based on its tenure in the marketplace and industry but every business needs to allocate a fair amount of money towards marketing. You have to spend money to make money.

First, there are two basic truths when marketing a startup. One is that a great product alone is not enough for a business to succeed. Yes, having a product that fills the customers’ needs or fulfills their desires is essential. In fact, such products are easier to market. However, there is a second basic truth: No amount of marketing will help a bad product gain a large audience. While you might create an excellent marketing plan, when the product is poor quality, word of mouth is likely to prevent that business from being successful. As the saying goes, “Nothing kills a bad company faster than good marketing.”

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The point is that to become a successful startup business, you need both a great product and great marketing. Therefore, if you already have a great product, all you need is the marketing. To help you, here are four steps to create a marketing plan for your business:

1. Identify All Your Target Markets. In other words, determine who you want as your ideal customer. That customer is your target market. What you will likely find is that 20 percent of your customers will provide 80 percent of your business. Therefore, it makes sense to focus your time and effort on that 20 percent of your target market.

2. Qualify Your Best Target Markets. This step helps you to further refine your market. It is how you determine which customers within your target market are your best customers. Once you know this information, you will be able to position your business to attract and keep these customers.

3. Identify Your Tools, Strategies and Methods. Here is where you select the specific tools and methods that will best enable you to reach your audience. Clearly, an audience with whom you cannot communicate is an audience who will not become your customers. This step helps you to contact those customers.

4. Test Your Marketing Strategy and Tools. After you develop your tools and methods, you now have a strategy for reaching your target market. Test your strategy on a portion of your target market before making final decisions. This will help you to be sure that your strategies are effective — particularly when it comes to making decisions about money.

Ultimately, the key to your business success is hard work. Creating a detailed marketing strategy will help you achieve that success. It is just a matter of matching your tools and methods to your target market.