Keeping it Simple
Marketing Strategies can be complicated. It all depends upon what you are trying to achieve.
Why, Who, How, Where, When?
For any small business these questions applied to any Marketing Planning for any reason (Strategic or Tactical) makes it much easier to focus on what is important.
Start with WHY – Remember Simon Sinek?
A bit dated, but still makes you think. And that is the starting point – thinking ‘WHY’ you should do this. That applies to any business planning.
Think about what you want to achieve from this marketing activity in the next three, six and 12 months? What is the Purpose?
Fundamentally this is: What are your Marketing Objectives? For example – more sales/business from existing clients or more from new, or a mix of both – and over what period?
WHO are you going to engage with? Who is the Target Audience?
Define your decided Target Audience. If uncertain, take a look at your Customers. Typically they should be the same thing.
What common characteristics do they have? How and Why do they buy from you? What media do they consume, what common buying behaviour do they exhibit?
Who is your competition, how do you compare – in features, benefits and pricing. If you don’t know, find out. Undertaking a survey helps significantly.
HOW – Are you going to Achieve the Objectives – What Marketing Strategy?
That is, how are you going to reach your Target Audience cost effectively. What ‘route’ to market using ‘what’ marketing?
There are so many marketing activities, platforms and tools to use. It will depend upon who your target audience is by age, sex, behaviour, income/budget, geography. Once you understand this you can decide how you can best reach them – what media, where, when and why?
Messaging is key. How are you going to differentiate the value you provide from your competitors? What can you say that will make people more interested in buying from you rather than ‘them’ – and to pass the ‘so what?’ test.
Is your website up to scratch or fit for purpose? Because with any new market activity, your target audience will check you out and a sales opportunity could be lost without you even knowing it.
WHERE – what marketing, Where!
Once you decide how you are going to reach your target audience (and existing customers) – whether direct mail, content marketing, social media, networking, seminars, PR or bus backs (there are dozens of options) – you can plan expenditure.
Make sure you are allocating and spending your budget effectively. Testing is often a good way to start, especially with a new proposition or across new media. And ensure you can capture and measure all results – if you can’t then don’t do it because you will never know whether it worked or not. And brief your staff so that all new enquiries are captured.
WHEN – the Timings
All Planned Marketing Activity needs a Schedule and Timings so everything actually happens as Planned. Also, consider any seasonality in your sales. Should you spend more or less due to past behaviour at particular times of the year? If your customers are other businesses, traditionally are there any annual reviews? Are there any national or local events that would be ideal for you to exhibit at?
And be focused and consistent. No point in spending everything in the first 6 months, or necessarily spending when, traditionally, sales have always been low.
The key thing to remember is measure everything, so you know what works best and can repeat that success. You need to know your marketing return on investment.
Creating a Marketing Plan typically comprises:
- An Audit of the Situation and Opportunity
- The definition of Business/Financial Objectives
- A Marketing Strategy Plan as to how to achieve them
- With a Marketing Schedule of Activities
- And a Control (Measurement and Reporting) to ensure the Objectives have been achieved
But asking yourself – Why, Who, How, Where, When – is a good starting point.