A marketing plan is more than a map. It’s a touchstone for you, your staff, and your stakeholders, a statement of what you believe your incubation program can achieve. It’s a checklist of what needs to be done to attract more or better clients, and new or stronger partners and sponsors. It’s a snapshot of your incubation program’s potential at a particular point in time, something you can look back on to measure your progress and renew your commitment to improving your incubation program.

Sounds a bit like a business plan, doesn’t it? It is – and it isn’t. Your business plan describes the overall goals and benchmarks for your incubation program. The marketing plan supports your business plan as one way to achieve particular business goals.

Just how elaborate your marketing plan gets is up to you. Business incubator marketing plans range from one- or two-page checklists to twenty-page documents packed with charts and tables. It’s not important how long or detailed your plan is; what matters is that you have a usable document that outlines your marketing goals.

Most incubator marketing plans have elements in common:

  • An executive summary (usually for longer and more complex plans)
  • A statement of the incubator’s overall business goal or vision
  • A description of the incubation program and its current services
  • A description of the overall market and the incubator’s role in that market
  • An analysis of what the incubator does well and where it can improve
  • A list of specific marketing goals and strategies to achieve them
  • A timeline of marketing activities, often with responsibilities assigned
  • An estimate of the expected costs associated with each strategy or activity
  • Some ways to measure the success of marketing activities

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