A marketing plan for a new product outlines how the product will enter the marketplace and the strategies for getting people to buy. Any business with profit expectations needs a market plan, for its owners or investors. With new products, marketing starts with development and moves to regular advertising and promotion of the finished product. The plan defines consumer needs and demographics, sizes up the competition, lays out marketing strategies and sets budget constraints. While marketing is a complex process, getting it right could mean landing a share of the proverbial consumer pie.
Describe Product Mission
Before attempting to write a marketing plan, be clear on the intent of your new product. Determine the motivation behind product development. What problem does your product solve or what need does it satisfy? Do similar products exist, and what makes your new product better? Likely buyers are consumers who believe your new product brings better value than what's currently on the market. Answering these questions helps determine how your new product will be received in the marketplace. A well-defined product mission also helps shape your main marketing message.
Define the Market
In conjunction with the product mission, you must also know your ideal customer. Identify specific customer demographics and be clear on why your new product appeals to that group. For instance, if your product is the latest model turbo-charged jet ski, your target market may be thrill-seeking outdoor enthusiasts between the ages of 35 and 55 with an annual income of $75,000 or higher. The more you know about your market, the more definitive the description and the better the marketing plan.
Describe the Marketing Strategy
Prepare a detailed description of planned marketing campaigns that meet consumers where they are. A marketing strategy outlines specific actions for luring target customers, capturing initial sales and increasing sales along the way. Part of this strategy includes an analysis of how and why customers buy products similar to your new product. Capturing this data leads to marketing strategies that appeal to consumer preferences. For example, contests and product prize drawings featuring your new product might work with consumers that enter similar contests for similar products. Describe the methods to be used for testing how well each campaign works.
Address the Budget
Make a budget for each marketing strategy. Prepare a line item description and cost breakdown within the marketing plan for each campaign -- marketing and advertising can break the bank without a proper budget. For instance, a well-produced broadcast television commercial featuring your new product could cost upward of $100,000, according to Stephanie Morrow in her December 2009 LegalZoom article, “Cost of Marketing II: Advertising on Cable TV." On the other hand, a radio or cable commercial can cost a fraction of the price. Budgets don’t have to be set in stone, but careful monitoring of spending is paramount.
Prepare the Executive Summary
Even though a marketing plan begins with an executive summary, it is the last part of the plan to create. That’s because it provides a condensed version of all planned marketing activities, budget, timeline and success measures. When writing the executive summary, be sure to provide an overview of the company, new product description, current market conditions, sales goals and capabilities for bringing the new product to market. Don’t skimp on this section because business stakeholders, such as owners and investors want a synopsis of what’s to come before delving into details.
- U.S. Small Business Administration: Developing a Marketing Plan
- Missouri Business Development Program: Marketing
- Entrepreneur: How to Market a New Product
- Is4profit: How to Create and Execute a Marketing Strategy
- Legal Zoom: Cost of Marketing II - Advertising on Cable TV, by Stephanie Morrow, College Professor
- Mississippi State Southern Rural Development Center: Lesson 4 Assessment Tool: Marketing Plan Framework
Deb Dupree has been an active writer throughout her career in the corporate world and in public service since 1982. She has written numerous corporate and educational documents including project reports, procedures and employee training programs. She has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee.