One of my passions is creating practical marketing plans that actually work, won’t take hours to read and most importantly, are an integral tool in the day-to-day running of a business.
Here are my top nine tips for business owners to make marketing planning as easy as possible:
1. Don’t jump the gun. It’s tempting to skip straight to the fun marketing activities and forget about setting the strategy. Take the time to set your direction from the get go and you will reap the rewards down the track.
2. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Customers buy from businesses that have specific expertise in their industry, not Jacks of all trades. Stick to targeting markets where you can be the best.
3. Know what it is you offer. Come up with one to two sentences that clearly define why you do what you do, how you do it and what you do. (Here’s a great website on the value of starting with ‘why’.)
4. What do your customers think? It’s surprising how many business owners start setting a strategic direction without considering feedback – both positive and negative – from current customers. It can provide invaluable insight into what you’re doing well and where you can improve.
5. Bite size is the right size. Break up your plan into small, actionable steps. Set yourself one marketing task each day and you’ll feel less overwhelmed.
6. Stay on track. Enlist a colleague, your partner or a friend to check in on your progress and keep you accountable. Book regular check-ins to go through what you’ve achieved, what’s coming up and what’s challenging you.
7. Celebrate your successes. Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back when you achieve a goal in your plan – no matter how small. Celebrating the wins will keep you motivated and focused on the big picture.
8. Hindsight is 20-20. Build into your plan reviews (at least quarterly) to reflect, reassess and refocus. Treat mistakes as opportunities for improvement.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Finally, even the most successful businesspeople ask for help. Recognise the things you’re good at, and if marketing isn’t one of them, ask for help.
Marissa is Head of Brand + Customer at McCormicks Consulting. She helps businesses to break into new markets, increase client engagement and boost profitability through creating practical, common sense strategies that get results.
An experienced business development, brand and client engagement professional, Marissa has worked in a variety of senior management roles in both Australia and the United Kingdom. Her experience spans the law, accounting, IT and health industries as well as industry associations.
With a keen focus on ROI, Marissa isn’t afraid to break tradition in order to reenergise a brand and get a business to where it wants to go. She can skilfully combine traditional and digital media to build profile and ultimately, boost revenue.