It can be just a little daunting having to write a marketing plan, particularly when your background is in an entirely different discipline. However, a marketing plan is a vital tool to any business. Not only that but it’s the best investment you can make for success. This blog is based on my Marketing in a Nutshell course – a one day intensive workshop that offers helpful tips to those marketing novices who are struggling to define and refine their messaging.
I do this at the very end because I think by taking the time to write out a thorough marketing plan you realise what you actually want to do. Creating a summary should then solidify your clear and targeted marketing plan, ensuring that 2017 is a success for you and your business.
This should list your goals and objectives. Be specific and try to include targeted, actionable plans that you can measure. So rather than writing “increase sales,” try for “increase sales by 10% over the next fiscal quarter.”
Not just a convenient acronym – the 4 P’s form part of the marketing bible. Follow these and you can’t go far wrong.
Product: This should include a detailed description of the product or service you are offering. I try and list these in an Excel spreadsheet for ease.
Place: This is where you will be selling your product or service. Offline or online? High street stores or independent retailers?
Price: This one is a little obvious, it’s the price you will be charging. I know a lot of clients are always tempted to start with rock bottom prices, but this means you have to shift an awful lot of product so do consider profit margins as well as your breakeven point. There is a tremendous amount of work that has been done around the psychology of pricing which can prove to be pretty darn effective when planning your pricing strategy. Even something as simple as using a 7 or a 9 in your price can have a positive impact upon your sales.
Promotion: This is where you can start to consider the different types of marketing tools that will work for your business. It is, of course, important that you ensure you get a good return on investment.
A customer persona should include:
- Customer buying habits
- Annual income
…as well as a whole host of other consequential facts that could affect their buying habits. If you are struggling for inspiration, take a look at the YouGov website which lists in great detail the consumer avatars of a range of high street shops. Proving that stalking isn’t just for Facebook, a consumer avatar will prove to be immensely helpful in targeting your marketing efforts. It may well be that you come up with four or five avatars, but choose to target only two or three – those that will truly help your business flourish.
This is an extremely important, often forgotten tool. Conducting market research ensures that your product or service matches with the expectations and aspirations of your customers. Easy to conduct through a simple social media campaign, it will make sure your feet stay firmly on the ground, even whilst you are grappling with five year projections.
This is the question I get asked the most, how much should I be spending on marketing. The experts say (and I tend to agree with them) that in the first year 40% of your profits should be put back into marketing and once your business has been running for more than three years that should be reduced down to 20% – the light at the end of the rainbow for those fledgling entrepreneurs. However, whichever way you look at it you need to be setting aside some money for marketing.
You will need to schedule your marketing to get the most return on your investment. Take myself as an example. In my spare time I run eight networking groups in London, and the busiest times, come rain or shine, are January and October. So I make sure to accelerate my marketing efforts in the months previously, to capture those aspiring networkers and convert warm leads to new clients.
It is important that you have tangible, measurable results in mind. Whether you are looking for more sales, increased brand awareness or a higher number of enquiries, make sure to continually measure success to see what is working.
The ending to your marketing plan, it is at this stage that you should be ready to get cracking with your marketing. It should include a detailed budget, your next stage as well as what tools you are going to be using to carry out your marketing strategy.
So good luck! If you are still feeling a little overwhelmed feel free to download my pocket PowerBook “Lizzie Philips Marvellous Marketing Manual” which is available on Amazon. And if you would like any more advice do check out my Marketing in a Nutshell course, which will build on everything I have mentioned in this blog. The perfect fit for those who are struggling to define their marketing strategy, I still have a few spots left for February. Feel free to visit my website cavaratraining.net for more information or to book your slot. If you have any further questions feel free to drop me a line at [email protected].
Lizzie Phillips has over twelve years’ experience in marketing – working on both the client and media sides of the industry. Her wide-ranging career includes working on campaigns and direct marketing for Guide Dogs, World Cancer Research Fund, Batchelors (and their famous Hug in a Mug promotion), Wanadoo and many other projects. She received Chartered status from the Institute of Marketing and her “Marvellous Marketing Manual” reached number 4 on Amazon.