Revised strategic marketing plan for entrepreneurship

Some opportunities are for a short-term yet we use all of our lifetime capital and other resources to start operations that don’t last.

Failure to plan is planning to fail, which is a reminder to us entrepreneurs as we look into the future of our businesses.

Reflecting on where we belong now and where we want to be!

We should then invest in marketing systems that improve both our short and long-run attractiveness, sales, customer retention together with sustained profitability.

It is imperative that we go through all the needful as guided by current global marketing practices which we referred to as new realities in the previous edition.

 In strategic planning, we use effective marketing tools that solidify all the dots from the internal to the external of the business.

This should not be a once-off process, but a continuous one so as to be proactive in any future marketing developments that might arise.

Marketers do not wait for surprises so do our entrepreneurs.

In general, with a marketing plan we are able to come up with  steps to follow/guide us in our market assessments, forecasting (of demand, sales, competitors and profitability) and development of marketing activities (together with budgets aligned with each activity).

It is key to keep in mind that there is no one stone that kills all with marketing planning, in the sense that everyone in the business is a marketer.

Such that the plan then takes a marketing leadership role that synergies every individual, team and department to work for a greater market share and entrepreneurial positioning.

  It is no longer a strategic and tactical approach to marketing planning but involves everyone.   

In this discussion, we will also note that the reason why we have to revisit strategic planning for entrepreneurship is marketing evolution, especially due to the changing technological environment within which we operate and exist.

 Where marketing has been made even easier through infusing marketing information systems (MIS) together with artificial intelligence (AI) for effective planning and implementation.

 To start with, an entrepreneur should be guided in the way a marketing plan is carried out.

 Of course, there is a sequence of activities that should be followed at different stages either as a start-up or full running enterprise but it is important to know the key activities to be done.

Analysis of market opportunities is fundamental through a marketing plan.

Most of our resourced entrepreneurs start businesses without a greater future analysis of the opportunities making them fast to be out of the game.

Some opportunities are for a short-term yet we use all of our lifetime capital and other resources to start operations that don’t last.

In the advent of technology, especially AI, there is a need to do a thorough analysis/forecast using data mining and other business modelling.

Like said, in some previous discussions data is important as it helps us to quantify opportunities rather than basing on assumptions. 

This should be followed by developing a target market(s). Note that in marketing of our businesses and offering we should not be everything for everyone.

 An entrepreneur should have a targeted group of customers where maximum attention and effort are exerted resulting in enhanced satisfaction being guaranteed.

Resources are not wasted through marketing to everyone rather there is higher value in low volumes.

 It is reciprocal in the sense that as you target your customers they will also know you better.

The entrepreneur is able to customize products/services according to the specific want and need of the customer.

 It is a family approach to business through marketing as the customer personally engages the business with their feelings/emotions knowing that they are the reason for your businesses.

Furthermore, with this approach it is easy to grow as they will not only do repeated purchases but referral of additional new customers through traditional and e-word-of-mouth.

This is reflective of practical marketing strategies indicating you understand the opportunities available for your entrepreneurial business and targeted markets.

 It is important to be guided by the traditional marketing mixes which have become popular over the years, namely the product, price, promotion and place.

In your marketing plan blueprint there should be a section that talks about these strategies for example in terms of your product packing and favorable attributes to attract a broader market.

Also a pricing strategy that is born out of a thorough market research and engaging with technologies (MIS and AI).

 If you wrongly price (under or overpricing) it will have negative ripple effects to the business.

Customers will doubt both the quality and value of your offering which reduces your market goodwill.

Of course, there are other various strategies that relate to promotion like branding which should be done and strategy for delivery to delivery to a place(s).

Before implementation of a marketing plan there is a need to come up with a marketing programme(s).

That is when the entrepreneur should prepare a marketing budget of all the activities that are supposed to be done.

The tools/channels that should be used to convey selling and promotional messages should also be considered.

It is a stage where everyone in the business will be allocated a task for marketing and supported by toolkits, equipment and technologies.

 As above mentioned not forgetting the power and must be needed for MIS/AI. 

As we further discuss in the coming editions, we will fully unpack technological influences in our entrepreneurial marketing activities.

Till then I leave you to reflect and act. 

  •  Dr Farai Chigora is a businessman and academic. He is the head of management and entrepreneurship at the Africa University’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance. His doctoral research focused on business administration (destination marketing and branding major, Ukzn, SA). He is into agribusiness and consults for many companies in Zimbabwe and Africa. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted for feedback and business at [email protected],, WhatsApp mobile: +263772886871

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