Thank you for the positive response from last month’s Newsletter. To follow up, we thought we’d provide you with a Marketing Plan Template to help get you started on the path to great marketing and keep you focused.
Click here for your free Marketing Plan Template, and make sure to frequently check our blog and Facebook pages for more tips and resources.
YOUR MARKETING PLAN
Your day-to-day business marketing activities are likely to be focused on communicating with potential and existing customers. A Marketing Plan sets out how you will put your strategy into place and will help you stay focused. Be sure that your Business Plan and your Marketing Plan are in sync.
Set Objectives, Budgets and Deadlines
An effective Marketing Plan must set clear objectives that will help you toward your long-term strategic goals.
Start by building a schedule by identifying key times of the year when customers plan the next year’s budget or seasonal purchasing peaks. Examples would be Spring and Summer breaks if you run an auto shop, or Christmas if you run a gift basket business. Time your marketing campaigns to fit with these dates and look for other opportunities, such as trade shows. If there are significant gaps in your marketing schedule, fill them out with cost-effective activities to help maintain customer awareness (newsletters, email or mailing campaigns, etc.)
If you rely heavily on a small number of crucial customers, consider developing individual account management plans for them. Key accounts merit regular personal contact (phone calls, meetings, business entertainment, etc.).
In addition to marketing communications, your Plan should span the full mix of marketing activities. An example might be developing new products and/or building your distribution network. You will also need to plan for any price increases or tactical moves, such as an end-of-season sale.
Be sure to note in your Plan whether you intend to give your staff sales training or introduce new CRM (customer relationship management) technology. Maybe you need to find more efficient systems or measure customer satisfaction. Including activities like these in your Plan helps ensure that they are identified as priorities, and that you dedicate time and money to them.
Branding is more than your choice of corporate color, logo and catch-phrase. Branding is best defined as your customers’ experience when they engage with your business, so it extends to such things as how you and your employees dress, how you greet your customers and email communication – the entire experience!
Think of branding in terms of a restaurant that you frequent. You go there because you know what’s on the menu, what it will taste like, what type of service you will receive, and how much it will cost you. It’s the same for your customers.
Before you can develop your brand identity, you need to be sure that what you want to tell your customers about your business and your offer matches what your target customer segment wants, and what you can actually deliver. Successful businesses realize the importance of having a world-class brand and making full use of its potential.