The Marketing Plan: Tried and True Principles in a Wired World
I swear there are would-be-entrepreneurs out there who expect a genie to emerge from their smart phone and create a chic new start-up for them. After all, there are online apps for Business Plans and Marketing Plans; business management dos and don’ts and self-made business gurus who will help you make a million dollars a year if you will just buy their book.
In this wired, smart phone, social-media age, regardless of the tools and toys, there are underlying fundamentals in the creation and operation of a profitable business. Every first-time, aspiring entrepreneur should read Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich”. First published in 1937, right at the end of the Great Depression and on the eve of the Second World War, the book lays out 13 principles for success, which the author says are based on interviews with many self-made millionaires of the 20th century, including Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Alexander Graham Bell. Despite its archaic syntax, the book contains truths that are equally relevant in the wired and the analog world. The first two of the 13 principles are Desire and Faith, terms which are still prominent in today’s vocabulary and have the same significance 80 years later. These two terms are embedded in every business plan and every marketing plan. If you read about the other 11 principles, you might agree that they too, are essential to good business practice.
While writing this article, I Googled “Marketing Plan”. In .63 seconds, Google returned 2,160,000 results. If you’re setting out to develop a marketing plan, congratulations! This is the best time to develop a plan – before you launch your new venture and before you spend the first penny on marketing and advertising. This series of articles may be just one perspective on marketing your business. There are over 2 million out there, across the internet.
The Marketing Plan is an integral part of the Business Plan. When I work with a start-up, the two integrated plans set out the goals of the enterprise, the target market, the competition, expectations for market penetration, tangible sales targets and measurements points where progress can be assessed over a finite period of time.
Within the Marketing Plan, there are eight elements:
- The Business
- The Entrepreneur or the Team
- The Market
- The Target Market
- The Competition
- Goals and Targets
In dynamic companies, plans are revised frequently, as dictated by change in any of the elements. Over time, the mission described in the overall business plan might shift, requiring re-structuring or re-focus. Or, the overall mission can remain unchanged while the inherent marketing plan responds to changes in any of the 8 elements. What remains constant is the quality of research, thought, planning and execution which are the characteristics of smart, successful management.
In the following series of articles, we’ll discuss the eight elements of a working Marketing Plan. The underlying marketing principles apply in today’s wired world, as they have since the Industrial Revolution. They apply to the automobile, the telephone and the airplane, all of which were being marketed 100 years ago. The only difference today, is the media and the technology we use to reach the target market. In a concluding article, we’ll talk about applying today’s technology and techniques to building a successful Marketing Plan.