What is a Marketing Plan Anyway?
By: Charlie Cook
Building a business that grows steadily in size and profits is
like building your dream house. First, you identify what kind of home you
want, then you and your architect plan and create blueprints for your
house, then you'd build it, move in and enjoy it.
N0w imagine that you didn't have the time to plan your home but went ahead
and hired a builder to get started. How would he know what to
build? Without a plan, the result would be unlikely to meet your needs and
you'd have wasted a lot of time and money.
Everyday I get calls from frustrated owners of small businesses. Their
marketing isn't helping them generate a steady stream of new clients or
bring in the revenue that they think they should be making.
My conversation with Ken, from Toronto, was typical. I asked Ken to
describe his business and his business goals. I asked him to tell me about
his target market and what he is doing to market his business.
He easily described his technological and design expertise, his Web
services and the ads and mailings he was using to promote his
business. Then I asked the question that stumps almost everyone who calls
me for advice: I asked Ken if he had a marketing plan and what it was. He
didn't have one.
You know what your goals are and where you want to take your business. You
also know that marketing involves activities such as building a web site,
mailings, advertising and phone calls to prospects. But without a plan
tying these efforts together, these activities by themselves may do little
to help you achieve your goals.
You need a well thought out blueprint for your marketing, just as you would
for your dream home.
Here's how to start putting your marketing plan together.
1. Identify Your Marketing Goals
What specifically does your marketing need to achieve for your business to
grow? You can state this in terms of the number of qualified leads
generated each week, the percentage of leads converted to s.ales, total
revenue, and profit.
What are your marketing goals?
2. Define Your Marketing Strategy
This is your overall approach and positioning relative to your goals and
your competition. My marketing strategy is an educational one. It is based
on giving people ideas and information they can use as a means of getting
their attention and demonstrating the value I provide.
What is your marketing strategy?
3. Set Up Your Marketing System
Develop a plan of action. To increase s.ales, your marketing activities and
the media you use need to reflect your marketing strategy and work together
I use articles and pay-per-click ads to get people to my web site, a free
marketing guide to generate contacts, forms to generate leads, and follow
up with autoresponders, my ezine and phone calls. Each individual activity
supports and works in harmony with the others to bring me a lot of business.
What is your marketing system?
4. Map Out Your Marketing Activities
Now flesh out the details. You've decided what your marketing activities
will be; now for each marketing activity you'll need to determine who will
create and implement it and when.
Who will be responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining your
5. Sharpen Your Marketing Tools
Each marketing activity involves using one or more marketing tools. These
include everything from your web site to your phone scripts to your
marketing messages. To cut through the information clutter and get your
prospect's attention you'll want finely honed tools.
Could you sharpen your marketing tools?
Plan your marketing like you would your dream home. The time you spend
developing a marketing plan - your blueprints - based on your business
goals, a clear strategy, and a coordinated system will pay off.
Use your marketing plan in conjunction with a set of sharp marketing
tools. You'll be building your client base and profits in no time at all.
2005 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up for the FrŽe Marketing Plan eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business' at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com