Part 2 – Taking the Strategy, Goals, and creating a great Marketing Plan = The Content.
Ok, in Part 1 we squashed some myths about having a small business marketing plan, and we discussed what it should be about. Now it’s time to show exactly what should be in it.
It is paramount that you understand exactly who your ideal clients are. Without a specific target to hit, you could really be missing out by aiming in all directions, and wasting precious time and money.
So do this – Take a blank piece of paper and write at the top a description of your perfect client, who is happy to pay for your products/ services. Be as specific as possible – age, sex, location, profession…. Even it may help to describe the clothes they are wearing.
The infamous 5 P’s (also known as the Marketing Mix)
There is no escaping the 5 P’s of Marketing:
- Product (or Service)
This is a simple one. You should create a detailed list of your products or services you will be offering as a business. When it comes to Product Strategy, you should be considering the product’s appearance and quality along with the company brand. You also need to consider any warranty or ongoing service or support that goes with your product.
This part of the mix needs to be considered carefully. Depending on your target market, you may be a luxury business, mid-range business, or budget business. And being the “cheapest” is always not the best idea, and competing only on price can be dangerous. Plus, if you place your prices at a good level, with a realistic margin, you can always have the occasional sale or promotion.
This is where your clients will find you and buy from you. In the online and internet age where we are now, it is imperative that you consider splitting this P into two sections: Online and Offline.
No matter what your business is, a website is generally a must, and any small business owner cannot deny the importance and significance of maintaining a healthy online business presence.
Also when you consider your strategy for your product/ service placement, you should include possible partners and affiliates who you can work with to expand availability.
This P is all about how you communicate the benefits and features of using your products/ services to your potential clients. This section should also be split into the same 2 sections as Place: Online and Offline.
You will need to decide your Advertising Strategy, Public Relations Strategy, and Media Strategy. This area will probably be more frequently updated and referred to than other Ps.
Originally there were 4 Ps of marketing, but business owners wanted a space in the Marketing Plan where they could look at the people in their business, and see how their staffs skills and expertise could be used to set their business apart from their competition. This has proved so valuable, that the 5th P in the marketing mix is practically standard.
Your SWOT analysis
After looking at the 5 Ps, you need to do a quick SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Discussion about the SWOT analysis grew in 2009, as a lof of small businesses realised that they did not have “Global Economic Crash and/ or Recession” listed in their “Threat” category of their SWOT analysis.
Now a lot of small businesses are realising that the economic market in their country, and around the world, moves in cycles, and they need to consider this as part of their Marketing Plan.
Also as part of the SWOT section, rather than just creating a list, you should keep in mind how to manage your SWOT analysis. How do you keep your strengths? How do you improve on your weaknesses? How should you tackle your opportunities? Do you have a back-up plan in case of threats?
Some sections of some Marketing Plans go into graphic detail on the competitor analysis you need to do on similar businesses to yours. I believe it’s important to know who your competitors are, where they are located, do they have a cool website, what is their reputation like? But just keep this section simple. After all, you’re running your own business, not theirs.
When it comes to the Marketing Budget of any small business, I wouldn’t avocate having a tiny budget, but having more a realistic budget. Even if you have a lot of money to spend, buying up expensive ads or hiring an expensive PR company, doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a huge return. When it comes to the marketing budget I always say-
- Sometimes less is more.
- Sometimes you should focus on quality rather than quantity.
The budget always needs to be relative to your business operating expenses and income from clients. And as long as you understand your target market, and monitor all results from your marketing spend, there is a potential for great returns.
Create the Action Plan
You need to set up an action plan that meets your schedule. Whether it’s a day planner, week planner or month planner. The Action Plan is a great reference tool, and budgeting tool. You can use it to keep track of your promotions or planned activities.
Monitoring your Progress
As I mentioned in Part 1, your Marketing Plan is always a draft, always changing and adapting. Every marketing tactic you implement needs to be tracked and evaluated to determine its effectiveness. A regular time needs to be set to do this. Once a week, once a month, or at the end of a campaign. Eitherway by ticking and crossing what works and what doesn’t work makes for a slimmer, meaner, and more effective ongoing Marketing Implementation.
Just remember: A 5 page Marketing Plan can be just as effective as a 30 page plan.