Fall is quickly approaching, which means strategic planning season for businesses. Whether you are a seasoned pro when it comes to creating marketing plans or have never created one, be sure to include the following elements in your plan.
1) Three to five measurable marketing/sales goals. The key word is "measureable." Without any way to measure success, how do you know if your marketing strategy is successful? Revenue, number of customers, quantity of items sold are the most measureable goals, but what if your goal is simply to increase awareness? Large companies and corporations can afford to have a top-of-mind-awareness study done, but this is often beyond the reach of small businesses. In this instance, consider quantifying the number of new customers, increasing the number of social media fans, and/or increasing the number of unique visitors to your web site.
2) Target market definition. I like to place this at the top of my plan so it's always front and center. Every advertising decision should be based upon where your target is. And be specific. It's impossible to target women ages 25–55 unless you have an unlimited advertising budget. Are they married? Children? Working? White-collar? Homeowners? Drill down and get as specific as possible.
3) Media outlets to reach the target market. What are the best ways to communicate to your target market? Do they frequent social media? Drive a certain route every day? Listen to podcasts? Are they researching your product online? Do they attend specific events? The more you defined your market in step two, the easier it will be to discover where they are and the most effective way to reach them with your message. Don't always feel you have to utilize traditional advertising vehicles. You could attend a popular event and pass out Koozies with your logo and web site. (Be sure to ask permission from the event organizer beforehand.)
4) Partners. Are there other businesses you can partner with that are targeting the same market? Identify potential partners and begin referring to one another. Perhaps even begin sharing advertising to stretch your ad dollars. Cross-promote within your business and web site. Also consider joining a referral group. Be sure to track your referrals so you can measure the success of the partnership.
While not comprehensive, including these elements in your marketing plan will give you the foundation to creating an actionable plan that will put you on the path to maximizing your return on marketing investment.
For assistance in creating your marketing plan, contact Rethink Marketing today!