it when a plan comes together ...
wouldn't go on a journey without some sort of plan of your method of
travel, your route, the expected duration and, of course, a clear
idea of the destination. Would you?
it comes to marketing small businesses, it seems that many people
happily embark on their 'journey' with no plan at all! There
really is no excuse for not having some level of plan before
you start spending money on marketing.
planning isn't that difficult. Here is an outline of a simple
five stage marketing planning process. It's an approach that I
use all the time ...
are we now?
gives you the start position for your 'journey'.
audit of your current position, in terms of your own capability
versus your competition as well as taking notice of external factors
that will affect your business (Political, Economic, Social,
Technological). Collating factors about your business under
the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats headings is a
useful approach, but remember that these are factors relative to
your competition, i.e. a strength is only a strength if its means
that you are better at something than your competitors.
are we going?
defines the destination for the 'journey'.
clear and obtainable destination in mind is essential. It can
be expressed in any number of ways, but is best when it is at its
most tangible and realistic and includes a
prefer to define marketing objectives in terms of the number and
type of customers that are required to be recruited or retained over
the time period. For example;
25 net new customers with an average contract value of £25K over
the next two years.
repeat purchase frequency for 50% of Product X customers from
2/year to 4/year by 2007.
quick calculation of increased revenue and profit from meeting these
goals will allow you to determine if they are sufficient for your
financial needs. It will also help you determine what level of
budget is appropriate to assign to achieving them.
might we get there?
the stage where you look at all the different ways of moving from
where you are now to where you want to be.
spending some time 'brainstorming' different ways to achieve your
goals. Doing what you always did will generally deliver what
it always did before. If you want to improve performance you
might need to think of new approaches.
afraid to look at competitors and other industries for good
ideas. If you are still short of ideas, try talking to colleagues,
friends, family, and so on. You never know what will come out
way is best?
is where you decide on the best approach and develop the specific
activities that you'll undertake. It also covers budgeting and
the stage where the infamous 4 P's of marketing can be used to
define specific activities and timelines for your
cover activities related to Product, Price, Place and
Promotion. If you are a service business then you might like
to think in terms of three additional P's, covering People, Process
and Physical Evidence (giving tangibility to an intangible
service). Finally, if you want to go the whole hog, you can
add an eighth P for Planet (covering 'green' and societal
are a very useful way of a) breaking down a large problem into
smaller, more manageable chunks, and b) remembering that marketing
is at its most effective in combination.
we still on track and have we arrived
stage focuses on being sure that you are following your plan, making
fine tuning adjustments if necessary, and looking to see of you've
arrived at the destination yet.
you'll be undertaking regular reviews of your marketing activities
and spend, and checking that it's all working as planned.
Where needed, you can make adjustments to take account of unforeseen
difficulties and new opportunities.
while, though, you'll need to keep your chosen destination in
mind. Don't get
distracted by short term opportunities, no matter how tempting they
and working pragmatically like this will help to make
your marketing work better for you in a more memorable way.
This means that your target customers will be able to differentiate
your products and services from those of your competitors and
clearly see the value in buying from you.
If you would like some advice on memorable
marketing techniques for your own business, or you know someone
at another business who might need help, then please contact
The sooner you start, the sooner you will benefit.