Writing a Marketing Plan - What do You Need to Consider?
When you run your own business, you can often get overwhelmed with everything that you have to do. Marketing can often be one of those activities that can fall to the back of the queue but is often the most important, if you don’t have any marketing in place then your business can stifle.
Many people think they should ‘do’ some sort of marketing and are often reactive rather than proactive. And this is where a marketing plan can come in and give you some clarity.
So, with this in mind what are the key things that you need to consider when you start to pull together your marketing plan?
A marketing plan is not a business plan and you need both.
Business and marketing plans can often get confused. A business plan comes first and helps drive the marketing plan. Your business plan should look at your business as a whole, do you want to grow, how many new clients, is your pricing set correctly, what new resources do you need? Without this information it is impossible for you to pull a marketing plan together. So, my first piece of advice is to set the direction of your business and this sets the direction of your marketing.
Who’s your audience?
Many people that I speak to go straight into the marketing activity. But they don’t take the time out to understand who their audience is. Start thinking about this, as understanding your audience and ‘stepping into their shoes’ will help you get a better feel for what their problems are and how you can help solve them. It will also make you start thinking about what types of marketing activity might appeal to them too. You can’t do everything when it comes to marketing so it helps you focus on what might be the most effective.
Don’t forget the whole suite of marketing.
When you have finally decided on who your target market is, it’s not all about digital. Digital marketing can be great for brand awareness but it takes time to gather a lead from it. You need to look at the whole spectrum of marketing such as the offline activities too. These could include networking events, sales collateral, trade shows. Different tactics work for different business so make sure you understand what works for you and don’t forget to take a risk every so often and try something new. There are no guarantees and sometimes you just won’t know before you try.
Tweak and carry on
The marketing wheel can take a long time to start churning. It’s very much about being consistent and persistent over a long period of time. But don’t forget to tweak. Don’t do the same thing for 6 months and see no results. Keep an eye on everything that your doing, monitor it and see what’s working and tweak what isn’t. It’s really important to know that marketing can be very much like a continuous improvement programme. It never stops. Putting milestones in every 2-3 months can help remind you to take a look over the past months to see what’s performing.