Selling Successfully (Your One-Stop Resource for Setting Up, Managing and Marketing)

The Skinny Marketing Plan:Your Marketing Roadmap

As a business owner, you of course have a detailed marketing plan, right? In fact, many businesses do not, so if you don't have one, don't despair, because you're hardly alone. You might be saying, well, I simply don't have time to manage my business AND develop a marketing plan AND carry out that plan. And besides, I'm selling online as a HOBBY. But in fact, it's still necessary, and it's easier than you think. The solution is the Skinny Marketing Plan.

Sure, if you were to hire an expensive consultant to do a marketing plan for you, it would probably be a hundred pages long. It would contain your mission statement, your positioning statement, extensive research on your customers, all your competition and how they compare, a detailed explanation of your current industry, detailed information on your product, your pricing, your distribution channels, your marketing materials, your marketing budget for the next five years, and a detailed schedule of when each task will be carried out, and who will carry it out. Whew - and this is just a sample of what it would contain!

Many small businesses are better served by a much more slimmed down version of the above type of plan. This is a plan you can do yourself, and would instead include the following simple elements:

-A Positioning Statement: This explains why you are in business, what your product is and where it fits into the marketplace, along with a description of the overall market you are serving. You can do this in a page or two.

-A brief demographic description of your target customer (man/woman/age ranges /income ranges/geographical location/buying habits, to name a few).

-A description of how you distribute your product, as well as how you see that changing (if any), as technology evolves, in the future.

-A simple list of the marketing vehicles you have chosen to promote your business i.e. monthly shows, click advertising, direct mail, local advertising, trade advertising, to name just a few. This can be just a few things that you do regularly throughout the year.

-A one-year calendar that outlines exactly when you plan to carry out each of the vehicles you've chosen to market your business. This calendar will also include how much each vehicle will cost, and who will do each one.

That's it. But the next step is making it happen. You'll need to post or store this plan in a place where you will see it frequently, and you can review it regularly, so you always know what you'll be doing next - and you'll do it. The trick to making this plan work is to keep it simple. Many businesses do a marketing plan and then toss it in a drawer until it's too late to act, as the market has changed. You don't want that to happen.