Your simple, yet powerful, 7 step Marketing Plan
January 15, 2013
I spent a day with one of my readers recently who confessed he had wasted thousands of pounds on direct mail. After we had spoken for just 15 minutes it became clear to me that had he put in place a simple marketing plan before embarking on his direct mail programme, he would have saved at least £5,000 and planned a much more targeted and successful campaign.
Let’s get three things clear from the start:
- a marketing plan is not theory
- a marketing plan does not distract you from selling
- a marketing plan is not just for big businesses
Your marketing plan is the engine that fuels your sales by providing clarity, and direction. It enables you to develop pin sharp relevant and accurate sales messages that your targeted audience will lap up.
So don’t dive straight into selling without creating your marketing plan. You don’t have to work with a marketer if funds are tight. You do need to be organised and to invest time – 90 minutes at a stretch will do.
Here are the 7 essential steps towards building your marketing plan:
- Carry out an audit of your marketing activities and marketing communications so far – what you’ve spent, what you’ve gained. Be ruthless. Chop out the activities that have failed miserably. Recycle the old worn out communications that don’t cast you in a good light.
- List the improvements you are planning on making to your products and services. What was good last year might not stand up this year and you have to commit to improvement to outsmart competitors and meet changing needs.
- Review your competitors. Are they smarter than you or vice versa? Either way your customers don’t operate in a vacuum devoid of competitors, neither should you. What can you learn from competitors?
- Create your positioning statement – the compelling reasons and benefits why your target audiences should buy from you. This is the DNA of your business so if you haven’t recently sat down and audited why you’re so darn good, you risk trotting out tired old statements because you don’t know what to replace them with.
- Identify the target audiences you want to reach, why you want to reach them and how you can reach them. Had my client done this exercise alone he would have saved an awful lot of money.
- Decide upon the marketing activities and marketing communications you’re going to harness to promote your business to your target audiences this year.
- Consider any limitation factors – what’s standing in the way of your marketing plan being implemented? This is a big one. Among the many small businesses I have worked with in the last 10 years, it is the limitation factors, such as lack of time and physical resources, that can scupper the best marketing plan. In order to grow my business and write my books, my husband had to give up his career and join me. If you have to take risks and make bold decisions to advance your business this year, recognise this.