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September 22, 2010

Three Guidelines for a Winning Marketing Plan

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Your Marketing Plan must be based on hard research about your target customer segments. In turn, that information will inform the focused strategies you will undertake to capture your market. Finally, those strategies will inform the pricing rules you apply.

This is the logical flow of writing a marketing plan that wins the attention of investors.

Research is King

Your marketing plan must be a natural outgrowth of your market research. Hire an independent market research firm to scour all available data pertaining to your target customer segments. Use that information to paint a highly detailed picture of your model customers. If your company can realistically serve those model customers, your marketing plan will naturally follow from the research.

For example, if the research shows your customers to prefer premium brands, your marketing plan will opt for premium service at premium price points. If the opposite is the case – if customers make decisions based on price – then discounts and coupons will figure in.

That kind of information will appear in your Customer Analysis and Industry Analysis, and your marketing plan will in turn be based on those sections.

Focus Your Strategy

One way to weaken the credibility of your written marketing plan is to lay out too many marketing tactics. So don’t do that. Focus on your main strategies and customer segments. This proves you know how to devote your resources – in an effective way – to penetrate the market.

A lean marketing plan is a strong marketing plan.

Pricing Rules, Not Prices

Markets change. Price flux is a normal occurrence in any industry. If you place specific numbers on the prices for your products and services, you will appear frozen in time. This will in turn reduce the credibility of your management team, which must be conveyed as agile and ready to adjust to the changing conditions of fate.

Rather, establish pricing rules based on their relationships to competitors’ pricing strategies as well as to your company’s internal line of products and services. In the mind of investors, this leaves you plenty of room to establish concrete prices that make real sense once you launch your marketing strategy.

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