Do I really need to plan out my marketing?
Imagine how it would feel to walk into your business tomorrow and be confident in the knowledge that your organisational goals were clearly defined and mapped out and that there was clarity around what needed to happen to reach your destination. I encourage you to take a moment to consider how that would feel…
When planning your marketing try not to think about simply where you would advertise or who you might send fliers to. Think big picture; this is about your vision, your goals and your journey to get there. A good marketing plan will:
- Help you focus on high priority activities. These are the activities that will most likely generate more customers for you.
- Enable you to start focusing your time, money and effort only on activities that will drive a return for your business. For your marketing to be successful you need to stick to a schedule of planned activities and keep your marketing activities going through slow and busy times.
- Help channel your communications to the right people. Generally these are the people most suitable to buy your product or service. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that ‘everyone’ is your target market, because more than likely they are not. You need to decide who is most likely to buy from you and stick to talking just to them.
- Give budget clarity. Part of well planned marketing is mapping out when you want activities to take place and how much they are likely to cost.
- Outline your long term game plan. Marketing should be aligned with your business goals so it will support you in achieving them.
Hopefully this is justification as to why marketing is such an essential element of the business strategy. Now how do you go about doing a plan? Firstly, you need to decide if you want to create your plan by yourself or with a company that specialises in doing plans. Unashamedly, this is where we pitch the Tactix business as specialists in developing personalised marketing plans for NZ businesses.
However, if you feel confident in compiling a marketing plan yourself, there are a number of approaches and templates you can use and Google searching ‘marketing plans’ would be a simple place to start. At its most basic, the components of a simple marketing plan can be boiled down into five categories:
- Know your business goals. Before starting you need to be clear on what you are trying to achieve. Reflect on why you started your business, what makes your business unique and what your aspirations for it are.
- Understand your customers. If you are not ‘intimate’ with your customers, doing some research may provide some insight into who they are and what drives them. Ask questions that help you find out how your customers perceive you, the types of communications they see, read or hear, how they purchase your products or services, why they do business with you and what they get from you compared to what they would like. Be very clear on your customers’ demographic, their profile and where they reside.
- Know your market. It is important to spend time looking at the environment that you operate in to find opportunities for growth. This includes looking at the macro-environment for factors that may impact your business in relation to political, economic, social or technological changes. In addition you need to consider factors such as consumer trends, suppliers and competitors that may impact your business. When considering your competitors, focus on what makes them different to you. Why would someone choose them over you?
- Look at how important price is in your customer’s decision process and, if you are the price leader, what value do you offer over and above your competitors to justify this price?
- Your brand. It is key to spend time looking at your brand and really distilling how you want to be perceived by your customers.
Marketing is all about your customers, your market and how you engage with them to grow your business. reating a marketing plan doesn’t have to be complex and time consuming, however we are confident you will find that time invested in planning your marketing is time well spent and will give you a direction and focus for your business that will invigorate your teams and drive your business forward.
If you are not sure where you need to focus to improve marketing – take our short marketing questionnaire we will let you know which areas are the top 3 you need to focus on.