You know you need a plan for marketing, but it seems like there are so many options, so many ways you can go. Which one is right for your business?
In my Marketing Coach Program ™, I’ve created a simple pathway to creating your marketing plan. Seven questions to answer, and the heart of your plan is in place:
1. What do you want?
Like Stephen Covey says, begin with the end in mind. Define your goal in writing. “Increase sales by 17%,” or “become the largest store in my category” are fine goals. Don’t forget to define what “largest store” means. How big is that exactly? Be as specific as possible. Also, make sure you have a due date—when do you want to accomplish that?
2. What are your core values?
This is important because anything you do should reflect the brand. The brand comes from what you value and how you portray it. Core values are things like Integrity, efficiency, creativity, etc.
3. What are some ways to get you there?
This is brainstorming, so you don’t have to have all the answers, just ideas. Come up with a bunch of marketing ideas to help you achieve your goal, then eliminate the ones that are not feasible, practical, or that rely on other forces outside your control. Keep adding ideas as you think of them along the way.
4. Who is your audience?
List age, gender, income level, geographics, psychographics, demographics- anything to help you narrow your focus. We don’t market to people; we market to a person. Who is your ideal customer? The customer who spends the most but costs you the least is your ideal customer.
5. What is your message?
If you can only say one thing, what would it be? Make it your point of differentiation. (see Discovering Different). Different gets noticed. Same gets nowhere. Your message should contain your point of differentiation. If you’re in the repair business, everyone claims to have fast, dependable, friendly service, right? But how about this: “We respond to every service call within two hours or the service fee is free.” ? That gets your attention. If it’s true, it’s a killer message.
6. What media will you use?
Look back at #4: What are your customers’ habits? Young suburban moms are practically living in their SUV’s, so out of home media is usually a better way to reach her. How is your message best delivered? Would you advertise guitars with print? Maybe, but radio, TV, or web appeals to the same senses as the guitar you are trying to sell. What is your budget? How quickly do you want results? All these answers help to determine the media you use.
7. How much can you spend?
Here are some guidelines: a) Make marketing a line item in your budget B) what is the most you can spend without draining the essentials? c) Most businesses spend at least 5% of annual revenue on marketing; some are 10% and higher for startups and new product launches. d)Finally, target your spending based upon where you want to be, not on where you are. That means you’ll need to spend more in the beginning, but that’s how you grow beyond the status quo.
If you get stuck, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Your BRAND is everything your audience thinks or feels when they see or hear your name.” –David Day, aka, The Brand Professor