The Marketing Plan: The Business

The sale of goods or services is the raison d’être of any business.  As the saying goes, “nothing happens until someone sells something”. Really, this applies to every business?

What about manufacturing?  Nothing gets manufactured before someone first sells the product.  Otherwise, why make it?

What about professions; doctors, lawyers, architects and accountants?  Do an internet or Yellow Pages search for one of these professions.  Are they not selling their services?

Every business exists to sell a product or service.  Otherwise there is no reason for it to exist.

The Business:

The entrepreneur or the company must define itself and its product.  Is it tangible goods, a service or both?  A business like an automobile, major appliance or computer dealer may sell a tangible product, along with after-market maintenance and repairs.  This is a good business model because it provides a continuing revenue stream in a business where product sales are infrequent. In the same market, other businesses do not sell original product but provide aftermarket maintenance and repair services and parts.  In a given market, all can co-exist and be successful.

A newcomer to the marketplace must self-define and establish exactly what its role will be.  If it is selling automobiles, major appliances or computers, how will it differ from the competition?  Is there a gap in the marketplace where it can fit and prosper? Or, will it have to take on the established players and fight for market share? While more gentlemanly ethics may exist in the professions, a graduating physician, lawyer or accountant entering the market must compete with established providers for income and market share.

And what is the state of the market at the time of entry?  Are there service gaps or is there an oversupply?  Are there one or more prominent players who dominate the market? Is the consumer price sensitive or appreciative of quality?  Is the marketplace prosperous or struggling with economic adversity? A new business, no matter how qualified, will have a greater challenge breaking into a crowded, highly competitive or moribund marketplace.

The business and marketing plan must define the business and what qualifies it for success. What are the goods or services it offers? Who are the key players in the company and what are their skills, experience and other assets?  The intended marketplace must be analyzed carefully to predict the chances of success.  Is the market for the company’s goods or services growing, declining or stagnant?  What are the demographics in terms of age and income segmentation? How is the competition positioned and can the company provide a level of service, quality or price that does not already exist?  Will there be enough buyers and frequency of transactions to support the company or its products at the price levels it requires to succeed? There must be sufficient consumers of the company’s goods or services, at its price points, to return a profit.

Who we are, what resources we bring to the marketplace and the reasons we think we can sell our products and services in sufficient quantity to make a profit are the key points in defining the company, and why it believes it can succeed.

Oh, and don’t forget the story.  Look for that unique back-story about the product, the town where it is manufactured or the history behind the product itself; a “hook” that can permeate the advertising and marketing theme.  Think about Budweiser and the Clydesdales; Lynchburg Tennessee and Jack Daniels; the white kittens in the Royal ad.  A good story stays in the mind of the consumer.  Your back-story can differentiate you from the competition.  Just make sure the quality of your product and service live up to the story.

Dave Hands


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