Writing Your Business Plan, Step 4: Marketing Plan (Research and Economics)

May 12, 2009 at 6:00 am 1 comment

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

The Marketing Plan is a HUGE part of your business plan.  By breaking things into small pieces we can make these gigantic tasks achievable.  We are going to break the Marketing Plan into 3 days:

  • Today: Market Research and Economics
  • Wednesday: Products, Customers, and Competition
  • Thursday: Niche, Strategy, and Sales Forecasting

Let’s get started!

Preparation: Market Research

Market Research is something that you DO in preparation for the writing of the Marketing Plan.  By doing this research, you’ll be better prepared for writing about the Economics of your Industry (the first section of your marketing plan that we’ll also be covering today).

SCORE describes the two kinds of market research as:

Primary Research
Primary market research means gathering your own data. For example, you could do your own traffic count at a proposed location, use the yellow pages to identify competitors, and do surveys or focus group interviews to learn about consumer preferences. Professional market research can be very costly, but there are many books that show small business owners how to do effective research.

Secondary Research
Secondary research means using published information such as industry profiles, trade journals, newspapers, magazines, census data, and demographic profiles. This type of information is available [online], at public libraries, industry associations, chambers of commerce, vendors who sell to your industry, and government agencies.

Because the industry is made of so many small businesses that don’t always get captured in overall industry research it can be challenging finding valuable information.  I recommend the following sources for online industry data:

The Wedding Report
Current information that captures nationwide data

Conde-Naste Brides Annual Survey
An annual survey done of brides nationwide which covers trend information

Trade Associations
Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) and Association for Wedding Professionals (AFWP) provide some data and research resources

Google
Never underestimate the power of a good google search

Writing: Economics

Now that you’ve done the research, you’re ready to do the writing.  Break down this section into three subsections:

The Wedding Industry

  • How many weddings took place in recent years?  What was the total value spent on these weddings?
  • What is the average cost of a wedding?
  • What is the growth history of the industry?
  • What are the purchasing trends within the industry?  What are consumer preferences?
  • What are the economic threats to the wedding industry?

Local factors

  • What are local factors within the wedding industry?
  • What are the facts about the industry that relate to your regional market?
  • Are there regional factors that affect your business segment?

Your Business Segment
(within the wedding industry, your particular segment: eg. photography, invitations, etc.)

  • How much was spent with your business segment in recent years?
  • What is the average cost spent on your product or service?
  • What are the trends within your business segment?
  • What are the opportunities for your business?
  • What are the challenges that your business segment faces?

The Next Step

The Economics section of your Business Plan gives the background for your Marketing Plan.  It also is a good exercise in understanding the way your business fits into the marketplace.  Tomorrow, we’ll be writing about your products and/or services, your customers, and your competition.

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Entry filed under: 13 Step Business Plan, Market It, Plan It, Strategy.

Writing Your Business Plan, Step 3: Products and Services Writing Your Business Plan, Step 5: Marketing Plan (Products/Services, Customers, Competition)

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