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How to Get Started on Your Marketing Plan

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Chapter 1: By Bobette Kyle, The Network
(by Bobette Kyle, added on 01/22/04 07:36 PM)

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

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

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 -,, and 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

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 .

About the Author

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 or visit the Web Site
Marketing Plan Network at

Copyright 2002, 2004 Bobette Kyle. All rights reserved.

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