1 Analyze Your Company – What makes your company special? Think about what your company offers in terms of services and goods. Focus on the unique features and benefits of your products and services. What makes your company different than similar companies — is it your service, your variety, a style, a feeling you’re selling?
2 Analyze Your Competition – List your competitors, and then list each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. Shop your competition to see what they offer customers.
3 Describe Your Market – As precisely as possible, describe your primary market — the type of customer who can bring you the most reward. Describe a few secondary markets — other markets you’d like to service. If your market is other businesses, think of the industries, sectors, channels, and sizes in your base.
4 List Your Marketing Objectives – You should be as specific as possible about your marketing objectives.
5 Create an Action Plan – It’s time to meet your objectives. Keeping your target market in mind, how will you allocate your marketing? Consider the pros and cons of promoting yourself through various marketing channels like print, radio, and television ads; a website; collateral material such as brochures; direct mail; trade shows; press releases; networking groups; e-mails; and more. What do you want to achieve with each method you select? Develop an affordable strategy and create a timetable for each step.
6 Create a Budget – You have a plan, now you need to fund it. What will it cost to do research, create materials, purchase ad space, or develop a website? If your budget is insufficient, you’ll need to determine if more funds are warranted or if you should change your mix. As a rule of thumb, you should consider setting aside about two percent of your gross sales from the previous year
7 Measure Your Progress – Set aside time to periodically evaluate the success of your marketing campaigns and make adjustments to your plan if necessary. Review your plan quarterly. Focus on fine-tuning your best efforts, and discontinue or adjust strategies that have not succeeded.