The old adage is ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. This is true in a number of areas of your business, and certainly for your marketing. When our businesses are busy we forget about marketing, and often think ‘I don’t need it, I have heaps of work’. However, there is often a long lead time for marketing efforts and if you attempt to ‘turn on’ the marketing when business is slow you might think it is in vain if you don’t see results for some time.
The best approach is to have a 12 month plan. This can be built around your seasonal peaks and troughs and may mean that you start a marketing campaign several months before the time that you want to see the results.
Here are some critical reasons why you need a marketing plan:
There are a couple of factors that I consider as hygiene factors in a marketing plan. They are your social media, email newsletters and blog. For those that don’t have a plan and a schedule for these items, it can be sporadic and inconsistent. You see blogs that haven’t been updated for months and then one week there are 3 blog posts. Facebook pages with only business promotions on them and non-existent newsletters.
Trust and engagement should be built over the long term. These things may seem like they aren’t delivering results, but they are about building long term processes and systems of communication in your business.
2. Competitor Review
A marketing plan is a good time to review your competitors. It is a good time to be documenting, who they are, what they do and what they are doing differently to you. Knowing your competition, their weaknesses and strengths is almost as important as understanding your customers.
Allocating a budget for your marketing efforts allows you to prioritise items. It prevents you from being reactive and allows you to ensure that there is an even spread of activity throughout the year.
When you have a budget you should also have targets that you aim to achieve. These should be reviewed monthly and then again quarterly to ensure that you are on track. This allows you to tweak the plan and your approach if you aren’t receiving the results you need.
5. More than just advertising
The marketing strategy should address the 4P’s of marketing – Price, Place, Product & Promotion. These are often forgotten when we think of marketing, with most people focussing on promotion only.
Jork Consulting can prepare a 12 month marketing plan which is tailored specifically for your business. They are comprehensive and outline the ‘how’ for each element so that you can easily execute the plan yourself.