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How To Ethically Sell To Your Prospect, Even If They Say No.
What you are about to read... is a closing technique I learnt many years ago whilst working as a sales rep. Too many marketers let go on the first no. If you really believe in the value and benefit of your product or service to your...
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How to Get Started on Your Marketing Plan


When developing or updating a marketing plan, knowing where to start is often a challenge. To better develop effective marketing strategies, begin by gathering information about both your business and the larger business environment (competition, trends, statistics, etc).

Internally, the amount of information you gather about your own business will depend on your company size. Information can include business strategies and plans; company marketing plans; pricing; and income statements. Employee knowledge is also a valuable resource. As you gather information, if you at first turn to internal sources then expand your understanding through external resources you will do fine.

External information about the business environment often takes the form of existing research, articles, competitive information, and industry news. While these are often available in both print and digital, the focus here is finding information online.

Gathering Information Online - Getting Started

The numerous news sources and billion or so Web pages available on the Internet make finding information much easier than in pre-Internet days. Before the Internet, gathering information meant trips to the library, purchasing expensive publications and reports, and commissioning your own primary research. Now, it is a matter of knowing where to search.

You can start searching the Internet by looking in each of the general areas below. Organize useful material as you find it. Purchase, bookmark, or file each resource so you can draw upon it during marketing plan development.

These external resources, together with your internal company information, will be your initial knowledge base as you develop your Marketing Plan. As you progress along the planning process and the specific information you need become clearer, these initial resources are likely to be jumping-off points for gathering more specific information.

Information Sources

Annual Reports and other SEC Filings. These documents are required by publicly held U.S. companies and often include statistics and other industry information.

Books. Books can often provide detailed insight and analysis you cannot find elsewhere.

The Government. At last count 100 U.S. Federal agencies had statistical programs, many with data available on the Web. You can find the complete list at fedstats.gov/agencies/index.html.

Message Boards and Newsgroups. You can pick up on trends, hot topics in the industry, and competitor information by following discussions.

News Articles. These often give clues to the business environment and can lead you to additional information sources.

Newsletters. By reading and subscribing to competitor and industry newsletters you can get insight into current promotional tactics and other activities.

Research Sites. Archives, press releases, newsletters, and executive summaries on these sites can provide relevant research findings and statistics.

Search Engines and Directories. Search by keyword or drill down into directory sub-categories to find information.

Subject Sites. There are some general sites - suite101.com, about.com, and business.com to name three - with numerous topic-specific pages. Check for pages relating to your industry or product.

Trade Associations and Publications. You will often find industry information, statistics, and membership lists online.

White Papers and other Company Publications. Companies will sometimes publish free white papers that summarize the industry trends or other information.

Search these resources and follow a sound marketing plan strategy for greater business success. For more about developing marketing plans read the articles at http://www.MarketingPlanArticles.com.

Bobette Kyle draws upon 10+ years of Marketing/Executive experience, Marketing MBA, and online marketing research in her writing.

Bobette offers a range of marketing plan tools to fit your business and budget. Find out more at http://www.HowMuchForSpider.com or visit the Web Site Marketing Plan Network at http://www.WebSiteMarketingPlan.com.

Copyright 2002, 2004 Bobette Kyle. All rights reserved.


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Additional Reading

How to Avoid the Marketing Blues with Your Offers
"Here's a little tip I would like to relate Big fish bites if ya got good bait." To attract more prospects and clients, you need what Taj Mahal calls "good bait" in his song the Fishin Blues. One of the biggest mistakes you can make, as a...
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Overcoming Objections to Price
How much more could you earn if your prospects didn't object to your prices? You'd close more sales and be more successful. Like most service professionals and small business owners chances are you struggle with objections to pricing on a...
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Proactive High Performance Teamwork
Proactive High Performance Teamwork is made up of nine proactive components and will provide the growth you are seeking in your practice. Two of the nine components are Performance and Opportunities. Performance=Profitability High...
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Lumpy Mail Gets Your Message Through
When it comes to your gravy, lumps are bad. When it comes to getting your marketing message through the mail room, past the gate keepers, and onto your buyer’s desk, lumps are just the ticket. I love direct mail for small business marketing and I’m...
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When Is An Ad Not An Ad?
One marketing technique used by advertisers old and new is to conceal sales pages as something else. The Infomercial, for example, extends the TV Advertisment into something that prentends to be an informative program. Likewise, newspaper...
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