5 Easy Steps for Creating a Marketing Plan

marketing, marketing plan

"Success ... is a result, not a goal."  - Gustav Flaubert

Today in our Monday is for Marketing feature I want to stress how important it is that you and I have a written marketing plan to execute from. Success is the result of a good marketing plan. Unfortunately I see many business owners who either spend recklessly on marketing activities or who just give up and don't spend anything on their marketing. Here are 5 steps to help you create a powerful marketing plan. If you don't have one I hope you will create one NOW! First, identify your ideal customer. I encourage my clients to think carefully about this and simply make a bullet point description. If you offer multiple lines of products or services for different types of customers, you should create a different marketing plan for each customer. With that said, I have two primary target groups - business owners and executives (or upper level managers.) Here is my ideal business owner client:
  • A business owner who has been in business 3 years or more.
  • A business owner who has 3 or more employees.
  • A business owner who's business has gross revenues of at least $300,000 (many of my clients are over $10 million but $300,000 seems to be a minimum threshold to afford our services)
  • A business owner who is improvement-oriented
This is my ideal client. Can you describe YOUR ideal customer? Sometime business owners fear that creating a description like this will "limit" their possibilities (which is not really true.) However, remember that you must FOCUS to receive the greatest return from your marketing investment! Don't be afraid - do it! After you identify your ideal customer create your positioning statement. This is sometime called a unique selling proposition. To learn more about this see my other U.S.P. posts. But let me say here that you should answer 3 questions:
  1. Does my U.S.P. really offer a benefit my target customer really wants?
  2. Am I communicating the real value I offer?
  3. Does it separate me from my competition - does it differentiate.
The third step is to identify the marketing tactics that are best for you! There are at least 110 different ways to market your business, so pick the ones that are best for you. Experiment occasionally, but don't waste time and money on tactics that do not generate qualified leads. The fourth step is to create a calendar. Map out for the year (or maybe just the quarter) exactly what you're going to do and when you're going to do it. Create an actual calendar so you can assure that you are consistently engaged in marketing. The final step is to create your budget. Don't just throw money at any new idea or the latest marketing salesperson's products. Be intentional and be disciplined. Track and measure everything you do so you will know the specific return you get on your marketing investment. But whatever you do, don't stop marketing! Let me close by sharing with you 10 reasons to continue marketing (from Jay Conrad Levinson's classic book Guerrilla Marketing.)
  1. The market is continually changing.
  2. People forget quickly.
  3. Your competition won't quit.
  4. Marketing strengthens your identity.
  5. Marketing is essential to survival and growth.
  6. Marketing enables you to keep your customers.
  7. Marketing maintains morale.
  8. Your marketing program gives you an advantage over competitors who have ceased to market.
  9. Marketing allows your business to continue marketing.
  10. You stand to lose out on the money, time, and effort you've already invested if you stop.
Remember, marketing is the key to growing your business. Create a plan and execute on it every week. If you would like some help, we offer a FREE strategy session to get you started. Contact us today.

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