In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. For entrepreneurs and startups looking forward to reach the horizons of success with their new idea, product or service, planning is very important. Apart from the overall business plan which derives the direction of the startup venture, it is important to have a comprehensive marketing plan. Marketing plan provides the entrepreneur a holistic picture of the industry, the target market and the strategies required to target the product to the target market. Finally the marketing plan offers to measure the performance.
Before the marketing plan is developed, marketing research including industry and competitors’ analysis is very important. An entrepreneur should have wide-ranging knowledge of the industry, customer segments and competitors. For this data can be gathered through primary and secondary resources and then analyzed using qualitative and quantitative techniques. This process provides detailed market trends.
Once the overall business situation is understood the marketer should start with defining the objectives, aims and goals to achieve through the marketing plan and strategy. Adding to this it is very important to understand the product or service itself. For this an entrepreneur is required to work on 4Ps elaborated as Product, Price, Placement and Promotion. Having gained an understanding of market, customers and competitors it would be easy to develop a precise marketing strategy (call of action) for the product. Marketing strategy would include all possible means to create awareness, advertise and promote the product or service. Marketing strategy is set of actions that will help to achieve the goals. The last step in the marketing plan is to elaborate the measures and how the performance will be tested against them.