In a 2010 Census report entitled "Business Dynamic Statistics" found that entrepreneurship and small business actually declined, despite more attempts to create businesses. The report, which resulted as a collaboration between the U.S. Census Bureau's Center for Economic Studies and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, posited that limited access to small business loans coupled with frustrated job seekers with little marketing experience led to business owners unable to find financing.
With banks and investors finally coming out of hiding, the savvy entrepreneur will be ready with a great marketing plan to wow investors. How will your product measure up and what is your plan for getting it seen and sold? Marketing experts across the U.S. have weighed in to help you find the perfect strategy.
Solve A Problem: Few topics are as polarizing as environmental issues. Some people believe they are the defining topic of a generation, while others see "green marketing" as a scam to sell products. The struggle to bring green into the black has been a tough sell, with thousands of green products unable to get off the shelves. As a recent New York Times article points out, the cautionary tale of fluorescent light bulbs changing their marketing from energy savings to lasting longer, points out an important facet that should be included in any marketing plan: problem solving. Many green marketers used the environment as the main feature setting their TV or washing machine apart from the competition. Marketers should focus all advertising and marketing on how your product solves a problem. The environmental benefits may seem paramount, but this polarizing issue can quickly cut your customer base along political and aesthetic lines.
Identify Target Markets: No company can be all things to all people. That is why, when creating a marketing plan, it is important to pinpoint who is most likely to purchase your product. By conducting market research, marketers should come up with a detailed profile of its target customers to drive future product developments and marketing efforts. Who are your ideal buyers? Set out a list of criteria and find out things like age, gender, income, family status (married, single, married with kids or retired), ethnicity and educational level. Likewise, possible criteria to be included are recreational tendencies, geographic and time constraints.
Budget: One place many small business owners head to build a marketing plan is the Small Business Administration. This government agency lends a hand to would-be small business owners, with resources to help them find financing and get documents and materials in order so they can reach their potential and become job creators for the American economy. One of the services they provide is helping entrepreneurs create a marketing plan. The thing that the SBA recommends more than anything else when creating a marketing plan is to create a marketing budget. By finding out how much you have to spend, you can determine the scope of your marketing efforts and how large of a reach you can create. Add to this marketing budget a time frame so you can see how long you will have to sustain your budget for. Once you have your budget in place, remember it is not set in stone. Things change and extra expenditures happen. But remember to connect each expense with its return on investment. By determining the possible money each move will make you, you determine if it is worth the cost. These can be tough decisions but by carefully examining these facets of your plan, you can save money and spend it more wisely.
Sticking to these ideas will lead you on the path to creating a successful sales strategy and will ultimately woo wary investors.