Updated: Oct 22, 2021
One of the first activities in building a comprehensive marketing plan for small businesses will be Market Research. This will involve collecting, organizing, and writing down data about the market that involves the product (s) or services (s) you will sell.
Here are the components of Market Research:
Market dynamics and what factors or patterns are involved in your small business including seasonality. An apple orchard, golf courses, Halloween stores, are examples of businesses that would be greatly affected by seasonality.
Customers – The type or types of customers your small business might attract including demographics such as age, gender, race, income. How much of the market segment is made up of your customers? How will you target them and what factors are involved in their buying decisions? Many times you can gather this information from digital marketing companies, library databases and focus groups.
Product – what products will you offer as part of your small business? Find out what is available in your target market and what the competition is offering including what they are charging for the product.
Current sales - a gauge in the industry is important in order to calculate what percentage of the sales you can expect to gain from your target market based on the competition.
Benchmarks - what are typical sales for your product in any given market and time of the year.
Suppliers – vendors that you will need to rely on in order to deliver high quality, affordable products to your clients.
Regardless of the scope of your marketing plan, you must keep in mind that it is a fluid document. Every business needs to begin with a well structured plan that is based in thorough research, competitive positioning and attainable outcomes. Your plan should be the basis for your activities over the coming months. However, you should always be willing to enhance or redirect your plan based on what proves successful.