A marketing company's tips on starting a marketing plan for those new to business.
A movie producer wouldn’t promote their high-budget movie without a strategic marketing plan. A businessowner wouldn’t promote their high-quality services without a strategic marketing plan either. That's what Oadby-based marketing agency Cross Productions believes.
But, they say, would the owner of an independent or SME business promote what they do without a solid plan in place?
Here’s Cross Productions' simplified, six-point plan that includes the most important aspects of a strategic marketing plan for small- and medium-sized businesses.
1. Know what you want.
Make it clear to yourself and your team what you want to achieve in the next six months, or whatever time period you’re setting for your plan. It could be as simple as wanting to gain 10 more followers on Instagram. When you then instruct your team to carry out a certain task, they understand why. This understanding deepens the connection between everyone in your company and the goal ahead of them. Knowing what you want also forms the foundations of the other four points.
2. Review the situation.
Now that you know what you want, you know which areas to look at more closely in order to achieve that goal. A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis can give you a snapshot of your current circumstances. You might have the strength of having a one-of-a-kind product. But your weakness could be that there’s no proof. And if one of your goals is to increase your product awareness, perhaps you now realise that you need to send your product out to testers and influencers. Analysing where you and your audience is at before your start making efforts to achieve what you want, is paramount to point five.
3. Become a detective.
When putting your marketing messages out there, at all times, you must consider your audience’s demographics such as their age, location, gender, and interests. If you were a customer of your brand, where would you go? Which websites and apps would you spend the most time on? What would you do in your spare time? How old would you be and whereabouts would you live? Researching your market will help you to gather information on who you’re currently reaching, and who your competitors are reaching. There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with what your competitors are doing. In fact, you probably won’t manage without doing so. You can learn from them and be inspired by them.
4. Set your budget.
Your budget is how much money there is allocated to you or your marketing team to set out on achieving your goals. Your marketing budget has nothing to do with any other financial elements of your business and should be set in stone for your marketing plan. Sure, you can add to it, with care, but taking away from it may hinder your ability to achieve those goals.
5. Practice what you preach.
As a business you should already have your brand values in place – or at least have an idea of them. Your brand should live by what your target customer wants and needs. You profiled your audience in point three, now show them why they can’t live without you. This means defining your key marketing messages so your customers know what to expect from you. Your key messages should explain why your company exists, why you’re unique, what a customer can gain from you, and why they should believe in you. And, now that you know what you can afford, you can begin spending that money in the right places. Whether it’s Google ads, Facebook posts, hiring a content writer, sending out free products, or cycling to France and back as part of your corporate social responsibility and raising your profile, you should by now be clear on the right avenues for your company.
6. Time to measure up and think ahead
The work you’ve completed in the previous five points has been pivotal in getting you to this moment. Measuring where you are now compared to where you were back then will form the foundations of your next marketing plan. you started with 1000 followers, and now you’ve got 10,000? Wow, how did you make that happen? Tracking and tracing which marketing efforts helped to achieve success is going to be a great confidence boost but it can also point out why something didn’t work, and which parts were a waste of time. From now on, make a habit of monitoring, managing, and mending your marketing performance.
For more marketing advice, contact Cross Productions here.