The Marketing Plan section of the One-Page Business Plan presents how you are going to communicate the existence of your business to the market segment you identified earlier. 

At this point, you can start to be more specific about that market segment if you wish.

You can consider the demographics of that segment such as: 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographical area
  • Children, etc. 

Or other characteristics such as home owner, pet owner, vehicle owner, educational achievement, etc. 

Or psychographic factors such as attitudes, interests, personality, values, opinions, and lifestyle choices. 

You can even gather together enough statistics about your chosen market segment, that you can estimate how many there are within your target area. This will give you a better understanding of the size of your market down the line, potential income, and potential expenses to serve that market.  

  • For example, if there are 5000 married homeowners in your geographical target area, and you only want to target the dog owners, can you find any statistics that help you identify the number of just that segment? 
  • Perhaps just 1500 of those are dog owners. 
  • So, to tell them about your services, you decide to create 1500 fliers at the cost of 20 cents each.
  • Now you know that the cost of an initial leafleting marketing campaign will cost you $300 on materials alone, and you can factor that into your start up costs (we’ll see those in the Financial Plan piece of your One-Page Business Plan). 

Overall, the more targeted and specific you can be about your market segment, the more accurate your cost estimates will be later on. 

For more about your market segment, you can check out other courses we offer or get back on Google! 

So, getting back to our Marketing Plan!

If you are clear about your marketing segment, this section becomes a lot easier, as you already have a clear idea of who your customer is. You’ll know how to reach them, too. The other piece of the plan is to plan your activities. 

Let’s look at this section in more detail. 

The first part of this section is all about your ideal customer. 

Identifying your ideal customer should be relatively easy if you have managed to define your market segment quite closely.

What you are looking to do here, is identify a “typical” client ie someone who typifies the best example of a client or customer.

So, in an ideal world, who would you like to sell your products or services to?

In the space provided on the sheet, describe this person as concisely as possible thinking about those demographic and psychographic qualities we talked about earlier eg A busy single career-focused female home owner with a dog and no kids, who has a middle to high income and treats her pet like a baby. 

It’s unlikely that you will find all your customers are ideal, and you can certainly serve a wider audience, but this exercise gives your marketing a focus and helps you avoid costly “scatter shot” techniques which often miss the target entirely. 

Part of the this first section is also about the needs our ideal customer has. If you look back at the example from earlier, the needs are pretty easy for you to pick out: 

  • She’s busy and has a dog that needs care most probably while she works
  • She has a good income
  • She wants to make a fuss of her pet

The reason we look at our customer’s needs are to help us refine our products or services to ensure they suit, it also helps us with pricing, and with branding – so we can appeal to them. 

Brand development is about presenting your business in a way that appeals directly to your ideal customer. 

It’s more than a logo that identifies you as a distinct organization (in fact the logo is often the least important thing), it’s about theme, style, consistency, emotion, colour, reputation etc. Knowing your ideal customer in detail allows you to focus your branding more precisely at that sort of person. Your brand flows through everything you do – whether it is your website design, your advertising, the sign over your door, even pricing strategy.

At this point, just getting a feel for the brand you want to develop is sufficient. Note down in your plan, the colours you think will appeal, or maybe the emotion or value or quality you want to convey with your service or product. I you can tick off some of your customer’s needs by doing so, that’s all the better. Hit on some of those benefits you identified earlier too! 

The next section is all about identifying the ways you will reach your customers with your marketing – which channels you’ll use. 

Channels are the methods by which you can get your product or service in front of your ideal customer. This includes things like social media, online advertising, tv or radio ads, leafleting, ads in your local paper, etc. 

Again, specificity is important. Aways pick the channels that appeal to the client – not the ones that appeal to you! It’s no good putting all your money into online advertising, if your ideal customer still gets their information from the local newspaper each week. Or advertising on a social media platform that your client never uses. 

If you don’t know what channels to pick, do more research on your ideal client. Put yourself in their shoes. 

Finally, it’s time to think of your Marketing Plan for Year 1 of your business.

You’ll need to do this, both for planning your launch and planning your effort, but also to figure out how much you’ll need to budget for marketing in year 1. 

Once you know your channels, you can then decide which should be prioritized based on certain factors – your budget, the time to launch, your confidence levels, the season – and build a plan accordingly. In the plan include regularly activities – like posting on social media – and specific promotions ie a Christmas campaign. 

There’s space on the sheet for 6 bullet pointed ideas for your marketing plan – a full Business Plan has lots more room and you may even want to consider a separate Marketing Plan document altogether. 

The Marketing Plan is often one of the most under developed sections of the Business Plan when in actuality your Marketing Plan and implementation has the biggest impact on the success of the business. 

Here’s some mistakes first time business owners make: 

  • Ignoring it (fear, ignorance, confusion, overwhelm).
  • Marketing to EVERYONE. Using scattershot actions. Marketing is about letting the right people know about your product or service in the right way and at the right time.
  • Believing flawed strategies egthe “Build it and they will come” myth, and “the best marketing is word-of-mouth” assumption.
  • Giving responsibility for marketing to a 3rd party far too soon.
  • Failing to measure your results after a particular campaign.
  • Giving up too easily. 

Take a moment to look at the Marketing Plan section of the One-Page Business Plan template.

Think about what you already know in terms of how you will market your business. If you need to base it on gut feel right now, that’s fine. Fill in any missed sections when you are clearer.

In the next video we’ll look at the Operations section of the One-Page Business Plan. 


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