I want to stress the importance of actually having a Marketing Plan and some key components you may not have thought about including in yours! Last week I expanded a bit on creating or solidifying your unique selling proposition, and how many business owners often didn’t have a solid answer on this.
Being early in the year, I am sitting down with some of my existing clients, and some new ones and talking about what they want to accomplish this year with their marketing…and I have quickly realized that for the most part “winging it” or taking a “day by day approach” and even… hoping that things will work out “ok” is apparently a plan… its scary… its the truth… and I am at a loss for words right now… Let’s see if I can shed some light on some things you should consider doing with your Marketing Plan.
But first, let’s start with a quote…
“Most people don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.”. – John L. Beckley
Some basic tips to improve your marketing plan.
We know now that Marketing is all the activities that contribute to building ongoing & profitable relationships with your customers. At its very basic form, your short term plan should include a plan to “make sales”, maintain your existing client base and establishing “new connections”. Your long-term plan at its core should include elements on becoming increasingly more valuable in the eyes of your customers and prospects.
What we often fail to do is put a plan in play that will help us improve our effectiveness at reaching out to our customers and target prospects. This is very important when creating your marketing plan. As we want to discover over time the perfect formula, or the perfect plan that works so that we can repeat and improve!
Now I do not want you to get confused, an advertising plan or campaign is not a full marketing plan. It is but a component of one. Advertising aside, here are some more ideas to help create a stronger marketing plan.
Here are five basic ideas that you may want to consider adding to your marketing plan:
Increase your knowledge of your customer base.
- When you understand how your customers think and what they like, you may discover better ways to reach out to them and increase sales. You know the saying “Ask and you shall receive?” You need to be asking your customers the right questions. This starts by communicating with them. What would you like to learn about your customers this year… this quarter?? How will you get that information? What will you do with this information!
– Fill The Awareness Gap…
- Do prospective customers even know that you exist? What percentage of them? Do your customers truly know about ALL your products and services? How informed are you and your staff about your products & services? Is your message clear and concise? What could you do to decrease all or specific awareness gaps in your business?
-Narrowing & Focusing On Your True “Target” Customer.
- This one is truly important, your target customer is the person who you had in mind when you created and designed your product or service. Are you truly sticking to this plan? Or are you trying to reach everyone and anyone… Maybe in your next plan, we go back to basics and stick to what is true and learn how we can become more effective at reaching out to them and catering to their needs…
– Identifying & Playing Up Your Strengths…
- What do you already do very well for your customers? ask yourself and answer…. my product or service is special because…??? Why have your customers been attracted to you in the past? Are you always asking for a referral or a testimonial to every satisfied customer… do you have a customer loyalty program in play? Are you using all these elements in your current advertising?
– Improve on your weaknesses…
- Improving on your businesses weaknesses, or discovering an industry-wide weakness and improving on it can truly be a game changer!
- Discover & Analyse what is working, what has worked, what is not & what hasn’t… We don’t want to repeat any mistakes again right??
- Are you building up a database of dissatisfied clients and why they are dissatisfied… Have you tried “everything” to resolve the situation? What can you do better? Remember a dissatisfied customer is an opportunity to learn and improve!
These are but a few examples of the many things you could / should be doing in your marketing plan in order to design “Smarter” and more effective advertising campaign that will decrease your customer acquisition cost, and increase your return on investment (ROI) over time. If we don’t have anything in play that helps us make smarter decisions it becomes very difficult to increase our business as we are always guessing and not improving / dominating our potential market.