One of the most important elements of a successful business plan is a well-researched marketing plan. It starts with the market data you produced from census reports, feedback and competitive analysis. Once you have a clearly defined target customer, you need to design a marketing campaign that turns him or her into a paying customer.
A common problem for new businesses is to rush into newspaper ads, glossy brochures, billboards and radio commercials. The first consideration should be the budget. You need to figure out how much each type of advertising costs and how many of your potential customers it will reach. Opt for the marketing strategy that gives you the most bang for the buck.
Another danger of rushing into an expensive marketing campaign is that you haven't truly solidified your product, service or business model. Let's say your marketing campaign is a huge success, driving hundreds of first-time customers to your store. If your employees aren't properly trained or you're still getting the "kinks" out of your product, then all of these customers are going to have a lousy experience. And bad word of mouth is the worst kind of marketing.
An even bigger problem is to assume that marketing will take care of itself. A clear marketing strategy is a necessity for any business. Marketing informs what products you sell and how you sell them. It dictates important budgeting and long-term planning decisions. It affects how many employees you need. Word of mouth is great, but it doesn't constitute a marketing plan.