Recently someone asked me if there was one thing that I, as a marketing person would tell them about marketing what would it be?
I thought for a minute and then I told them the most important thing you need to know as a marketer is who your target market it! Of course, that's after you know what product or service you are selling! It's impossible to sell, or create a strategy, a campaign, or know who or how to market if you don't know who you are marketing to.
See, it the old days of marketing it was more about being seen in general, now we have micro-niches, that really fine-tune who our ideal client avatar (also a newer term) is. So there you have it, know your target market and you'll be all set. No, just kidding! But having that information is super, super important. In fact, it's one of the steps in creating a marketing plan which is the starting place for creating your marketing strategy.
Let's back up a step, creating your marketing plan is like the overarching marketing approach or overview if you will of how your business is going to approach marketing. Once you have a marketing plan then you can think more about the strategy or the approach to getting the things on that plan to happen. It's like setting a goal and then reverse engineering it down to the actionable level so that you can make the goal a reality.
A Marketing Plan and Strategy go hand in hand. And they are a living document. Please, please, please don't do a marketing plan and then not look at again for 5 years or even for 1 year. For it to be effective you need to keep checking in on it.
You may be wondering why do I need a marketing plan for my business: so here are 3 reasons your small business needs a marketing plan/strategy:
1) A marketing plan/strategy tells you and your employees where you want to go. Even though the plan is a living document it still set for a definite amount of time. It's a road map to getting your business to move towards your goal and helps everyone get on the same page. In case you get hit by a bus or something. 😉
2) It can help you secure funding. Even if you are not going for funding now, it's import to understand that you may want to in the future and that funders will need to understand how you plan to repay them. Being able to provide a document that shows that you have thought it out and have developed a plan to do that is key in funders eyes.
3) It helps you evaluate new opportunities. Now just because the plan is a living document doesn't mean you should be changing it around every day. Having a marketing plan/strategy in place helps you make a decision when a new opportunity pops up. Say someone calls you out of the blue and asks you to speak at their conference where they are expecting 1000 small business owners to be in attendance. This sounds like an amazing opportunity, but let's take a look at how it fits into your plan.
Do you have anything in your plan about wanting to be a speaker? Is your target market a small business owner or do you help stay at home moms? Compare the opportunity to what your plan is and ask yourself how does this help me reach my goal? Maybe it's just something that needs to wait until next year, or it maybe it's not something that is right for your business at all!
There you have it, the first steps to thinking about marketing strategy and planning. What other ways have you found that marketing planning has been beneficial? Pop over to my Facebook page and let me know.