Like everything else in your venture, marketing your business is fundamental decision that always starts with a plan. In order to come up with an effective marketing plan, you need to understand the planning process and come up with the right marketing mix.

The Marketing Plan
The marketing plan is a way of putting down into writing your marketing goals and objectives as well as the specific actions that enable your small business to achieve them. Before you actually start marketing your business product or service, you to make sure this important document has been carefully completed and reviewed. A marketing plan contains the description of the product or service, information on your target customers or clients, relative position of your competitors, pricing and promotion strategies, distribution schemes, and marketing budget.

Planning Process
When coming up with a marketing plan, you usually undergo two planning phases.

The first phase of the planning process involves evaluating the current product or service and how past marketing strategies (if any) had succeeded or failed. This retrospective analysis in planning allows you to identify, which areas you need to focus on. This evaluation also includes assessing your own position in the market and those of your competitors as well.

The second phase of the planning process is setting up your marketing objectives and strategies. In this portion, you establish specific actions to be undertaken in marketing your business product or service.

Marketing Mix
Your marketing plan needs to look into several key areas. These can be covered by formulating the right marketing mix. The marketing mix is a set of variable known as the four P’s of marketing. Determining the optimal combination of these four variables is essential for success in marketing your business. These are:

1. Product. Your product or service should genuinely satisfy your target customer’s needs or wants and should distinctly stand out from those of your competitors.
2. Price. A good pricing strategy considers your product’s perceived value to the target customers. It also takes into account the pricing approach of your competitors.
3. Promotion. Successful marketing strategies always include the right promotional plan for the type of product or service that reaches the target customers.
4. Place. Location is always an essential element for success in any business venture. Marketing your business in the wrong place is a waste of resources you should avoid.