Marketing and sales plan
This section of the business plan covers important components of your marketing and sales strategy. It is subsequent to the previous section in which the market and competitors were analyzed. The section should be developed subsequent to your analysis and understanding of the market and competitors. This will enable you to devise an effective market and sales strategy and plan for your business. The purpose of the section is to address how you are going to achieve your marketing oriented objectives such as those relating to penetrating the market, reaching specific new segments, creating or improving awareness, establishing and building an image for your business, customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, customer retention, increasing market share, communicating value to your current or prospective customers and much more.
1. The marketing and sales strategy
Your marketing and sales strategy should cover the following factors:
(Remember to keep your marketing goals and objectives in mind and relate the factors listed below to your target market – this is all about devising a suitable marketing mix for your target market)
- The product or service offering
- The pricing policy or strategy (cost plus pricing, competitive pricing, price skimming, promotional pricing and other pricing strategies)
- Promotion and advertising
- Strategic alliances
- Sales and distribution strategy or place
- Sales strategy
- There are many marketing avenues that you may use for your business to achieve its marketing objectives. The include the following:
- Sales promotion
- Personal selling
- Direct mailing
- Public relations
- Social networking on websites such as Twitter and Facebook
- Branding – logos, website design, business cards, brochures
Discussed below are some of the marketing avenues that may form part of your marketing and sales strategy.
Advertising refers to the non-personal promotion of ideas. It is targeted at a specific market through some media channel such as television, radio, newspapers, billboards, on-line or internet advertising and much more. While advertising is expensive, it is usually effective and helps in creating a positive public image. With the use of media channels, a wider audience can be reached providing great opportunity for leads and eventually sales and ultimately profits. It is important to do some research on the costs across the different media and develop an advertising budget.
3. Sales promotion
Sales promotion is an impersonal marketing vehicle and is usually conducted on a short term basis. It involves offering incentives to encourage the sale of product offerings by stimulating consumer purchases.
4. Personal selling
Personal selling involves a direct approach in which in most instances a one to one contact with potential customers is made. It is a personal approach in which the sales people of the business verbally present the benefits of the product or service offerings of the business. It also encompasses ‘cold’ calling by active sales people knocking on home and office doors, stopping members of the public on the street and other direct approaches.
5. Direct Mailing
Direct mailing primarily involves a widespread distribution of promotional brochures and other marketing literature via mail systems. The distribution can be done via traditional mail or electronic mail. This way of marketing can be effective if done tastefully; however, the downside is that there is a possibility of the promotional material being seen as junk mail or spam. It is therefore important to do it in a tasteful way that offers value.
6. Public relations
Public relations or PR involves spreading positive news about your product or service offering(s). This is an attractive marketing vehicle as it is usually not so heavy on the budget and yields lucrative results. Public relations done by means of well written and interesting articles about your innovative and creative product or service offering(s) can be very powerful in getting the public to develop a keen interest in your product or service offering(s). Professional public relations agencies are available to assist you with this marketing vehicle. For a less expensive alternative, you may opt to submit articles about your product or service offering to online article directories or enzines and provide a link to your company or business website, blog, social media page (facebook or twitter) – if you have already developed one.
7. Branding and brand development
Branding and brand development is particularly a significant activity and factor that helps communicate the values of your business. It distinguishes your business from the others. Your Branding may encompass the following:
- Business logo
- Creative business slogan
- Customized letter head
- Fax front page
- Marketing brochures
- Marketing presentations
- Business website
- Social networking presence (Twitter and Facebook)
- Business cards
- Customized memory sticks or business pens
- Customized or personalized T-shirts, golf shirts, caps and other articles
- Business blogs
|Logo design||Your business needs to develop a logo that is reflective of its ‘personality’ or identity. Business logos are important as they are a reflection of the business owners and the company. The logo must be attractive and appealing to clients and other prospects. The logo could also display a meaningful and catchy slogan that the clients or potential business partners or associates can relate to. Essentially, the logo must be such that it has the ability to trigger the positive feeling that a customer has towards the brand.|
|Business cards||Business cards form an essential component of the branding for a business as they can be defined as a ‘hand-to-hand’ marketing vehicle. The cards are typically wallet sized and possess critical information such as the business logo, card holder name, contact details, physical/ postal address of the entity as well as a website address.|
|Letterhead design||As part of branding, a professionally designed letterhead is used for formal written communication with the stakeholders of the business. It may be suggested as a branding effort for your business in the business plan.|
|Business website||A business website forms an instrumental part of the branding of your business. A website presence is important and an economical way for a business to prove its validity to customers. A business website offers clients the opportunity to learn more about the brand and deepen the relationship between the business and its clients as well as other business stakeholders.|
|Business listings||For more exposure, listing your business in the yellow pages, the national telephone directory, and specialist online business listing websites such as: brabys – www.brabys.com; SA Yellow – www.sayellow.co.za; Easy Info – www.easyinfo.co.za; Firstier – www.firstier.co.za; and many more can form part of your branding strategy.|
|Business brochures and presentations||Business brochures and presentations play a vital role in communicating to prospects about the product and service offering(s) of your business. These branding tools enable a business to compile a portfolio of the work that has been successfully completed as well as an account of the features or attributes of the products or services of the business.|
8. Relationship marketing
This involves your business seeking to develop long term value laden relationships with your customers. This is particularly helpful in seeking to establish or retain customer loyalty, increase sales and ultimately profits. Relationship marketing avenues may involve capturing information pertaining to the main customers of your business. Essentially, databases are useful for this activity; it is important to capture the contact details of your clients so as to keep in touch with them and update them on the latest developments of your products, services or your business at large. Keeping in touch with your clients could be achieved through regular newsletters and updates. These can be conveyed via ordinary mail or email. Be careful not to spam your customers as your relationship marketing efforts may not be fruitful at the end of the day. Other contact efforts may include one-off appeals, for instance, season’s greetings and thank you notes for the past support efforts that your clients have shown.