Do you have a marketing plan for your business? Is it a brief paragraph thrown into your overall business plan? Or is it a well-thought-out, strategic document informed by your business plan?
Marketing can make or break a business and a detailed marketing plan is crucial when approaching what can a be a high expenditure item in your business’ budget.
You hear people say “oh I don’t do marketing”. Really? Marketing covers everything and anything that promotes your business, be it a website, brochure, event, even your brand. All of these items fall under the marketing umbrella and if you’re not marketing your business you’re not doing business!
You need to market your business to gain more customers, communicate your products and/or services and, most importantly, grow your business which is what we’re all about: building a high growth business, improving performance and increasing profits!
So, what are the elements of a great marketing plan?
Primarily it’s, well, a plan! You need to work out where you are, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. However you measure your business growth: bums on seats, eyeballs on screens or dollars in the bank; define the measurable milestones (that relate to your mission and vision, if you have one) that you want to achieve over the next 12 months. These milestones are the foundation of your marketing plan (easy, hey?).
How are you going to get there? Strategy. It can sound complicated but strategy, in a nutshell, really is simply defining how you’re going to achieve your aforementioned milestones.
Who are you talking to? Your strategy is based around your target audience (and don’t say “everyone”). Your target audience should be clearly defined – who are your most frequent customers and who are your most profitable customers? Often there is a big difference. Your marketing plan is about attracting the right type of customer for your business.
What are you up against? You know who your competitors are! What do you do that’s different to them? What makes your customers choose your product or service over theirs? What makes your business unique? Write your answer down, it’s your Unique Selling Proposition, a key element of your marketing plan and the message you should be promoting in all your marketing collateral.
Where do your customers find you? Online? Print ads? Networking? Trade shows? PR? Work out your marketing mix to find the most profitable kind of customer for your business, invest percentages of your marketing budget into various channels. What’s going to make it easy for your customers to find you?
How much are you willing to spend attracting the right type of customer to your business? Work out how you’re going to spend it and where and you have a marketing plan. Don’t forget to factor in the services of a consultant if you think you will need one and find the right fit for you and your business.
How will you know if it’s working? Those milestones again. Work out when you’ll achieve those milestones if your marketing plan is working for you. (And if you find your plan isn’t working be prepared to change tack in an informed and strategic way.)
And if you need help, contact me!