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Create a Roadmap for Business Success

Chart a marketing plan for your business now to avoid failure later.

by Albert Neal

Running a business with no marketing plan is like sailing the high seas with no map or compass. You can expect to drift with no purposeful direction, ultimately spelling disaster for your business. The best solution is to be proactive, and it begins with a marketing plan. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Products and Services
Depending on your marketing objectives, a marketing plan can be as simple as a two-page document or as complex as a 25-page business plan. First, you must identify your area of expertise and how it benefits your target audience. Describe in detail your individual skill set or knowledge base and how it differs from your competitors', highlighting the attributes that address your audience's unique needs. The results your customers receive by taking advantage of your expertise, and the services it allows you to offer, is your unique value proposition (UVP). This is the heart of your marketing plan.

Advertising and Promotions
The advertising and promotions section of your marketing plan is all about delivering your UVP. This is where you decide what to tell your targeted audience they'll gain from using your products or services. Once you've done that, the next question is how you'll get your message out. Do you intend to advertise via the internet, billboards, television or newspapers? What about radio, direct mail or e-mail? All can be viable methods depending on your business' budget and unique needs.

When selecting advertising venues, remember to consider all the options available to you, including some less common ones. Business cards, pamphlets and brochures are essential marketing materials, but you can also communicate your value via tradeshows, free product demos, publicity, customer testimonials or through your company's web site. Be sure to consider both cost and effectiveness when determining which method is best for your business -- your goal is to achieve the greatest possible return on your marketing investment.

What's a Unique Value Proposition?

Your UVP is a statement that identifies the tangible results a customer gets from using your products and or services. It is not a statement of the features and benefits of your products and services. When crafting your UVP, keep asking questions until you get to the core of your business' real value.

Need Help?
Don't be in a rush to get nowhere fast. Ingram Micro Channel Marketing Services, a full-service marketing communications agency solely dedicated to the IT channel, can help you chart your business's future with a well-executed marketing plan. As Ingram Micro's in-house agency for more than 20 years, we have a rich understanding of how the channel operates from the perspective of manufacturers, solution providers and end users. Take advantage of:

  • Brand development
  • Advertising
  • Direct-response marketing
  • Lead generation
  • Electronic marketing
  • Media planning
  • Agency Express
  • Corporate ID
  • Public relations

In addition to these services, we also offer one-on-one support through the Ingram Micro field marketing team. Our expert consultants will work with you to develop objectives, identify your target customer base, create a realistic budget, and craft a personalized plan that includes the right marketing vehicles for your business' sales goals. If you're interested in holding an open house or technology demonstration at your location, we can help with that too -- turn to us for assistance on everything from creating an agenda to locating manufacturer partners to executing the event itself.

To start creating a marketing plan, or for guidance in choosing individual marketing vehicles, Ingram Micro customers may e-mail us at marketingservices@ingrammicro.com. If you aren't an Ingram Micro customer, but are interested in becoming one, visit www.ingrammicro.com or call our sales representatives at (800) 456- 8000 to apply.

 

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