What product or service can you offer that meets the needs of your customers? Most companies begin with something the founder or business owner thinks people will want to buy. But as soon as possible you need to validate that assumption by testing it with potential customers and determining what they like about it, what they don't like, which features and benefits they want you to keep, and which ones you’ll need to delete or add before they're willing to buy.
Where will they find the product or service? Is it going to be online, in store, or something they can make themselves? If in a store, will it be in a high-end specialty store, a department store or offered at a discount store? Is it going to be in the form of a tangible product, a face-to-face service, software that's available on the Internet, or a downloadable app? Where customers find your product – and how they access it – needs to be an important element of your marketing plan.
What price do you propose to sell it at? Price and cost are not necessarily related. Do you have something quite unusual and rare from a limited source, for which you can charge a high price? Or is this something that you need to price low and sell a lot of because you only make a small profit on each one? If you're selling services, do you sell them by the hour, by the project, or through a retainer? If you're selling seats on a plane or to a movie, do you drop the price once you have covered your fixed costs, does your price vary depending on when people sign up or buy their tickets or does everybody pay the same price regardless of when they register and come?
Most people think that marketing is the same as promotion. They think they’re doing marketing when they launch a new website, distribute printed materials, or have a booth at a trade show. In fact, you can waste a lot of money on promotion if you haven't done your homework around all the other aspects of marketing. Such as who are your customers, do they even come to that trade show, how is your product different from everyone else’s, who is your competition, how many similar products or services are in the market, and what does your customer really want?