Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Start Planning your Market Strategy Now

How many of us are either doing our "Stunt of the week" or "of the month" without a plan in place? You thought of a great idea and so now you are initiating it. Have you thought about how much more successful you would be if you actually planned different strategies throughout the weeks or months?

Just as when you are firing a weapon, you are much more effective when sending out multiple rounds then just one. I'm not saying that one round will not hit the target, but if you are to send out multiple messages you are more than likely to hit more targets. Take one day, sit down, and put your thoughts in writing to come up with an effective plan for your weeks, months, and year ahead.

Last evening I gave a presentation to a group of small business owners on marketing preparedness and guidelines to start the plan. Below is a recap of some of what was shared.

  1. Narrow Your Market Focus--Examine who your best customers are and what it is about them that is unique. In most cases, 80% of your business comes from these customers. Identify who they are and strive to reach more. When the other 20% call, refer them to someone else.
  2. Know Your Business (positioning)--What is it that your customers want? Figure out what that is and do it better than anyone else. One of the best ways to find this out is to do a customer satisfaction survey. Your customers will let you know why they buy from you.
  3. Share the Message--What do your customers get from what you sell? What is the benefit of your product/service/etc.? Write down what the benefits of doing business with you and create ways to share them in every conversation you have about your business.
  4. Presentation--Now that you have determined who your target market is, know why they buy from you, and the benefits of your business, create all your marketing materials around this. Everything about your business from website, brochures, business cards, etc., need to share this information.
  5. Create section-plans in each areas of your marketing--Determine how you want to spread your message and break it down into smaller plans. Examples are: internet marketing plan, networking plan, promotional events, and the list goes on.
  6. Get a calendar and set dates for completion. If you do all this planning and no follow through you have just wasted a large amount of time.

Start today to plan your marketing year. Be sure to keep track of what works best and start planning for the next year in the fall of this year. If you consistently roll out different areas of your marketing, you will reap rewards with a steady flow of customers as long as your message is clear and accurate and is portrayed correctly in your materials.

Small business owners are doers, but one thing I suggest is to hire a professional if you are not a marketing person. The expertise they offer will help you to reap greater rewards.

Carole DeJarnatt
Alliance Advisors, Inc.

2 comments:

Linda P. Morton said...

Carole,

This post contains some really good advice about letting marketing strategy guide marketing tactics. I particularly liked the emphasis on the target market.

I'd only add that every marketing strategy should be a plan to meet a marketing goal or objective. So the goals and objectives come first, then the marketing strategy. Finally the marketing tactics implement the marketing strategy.

Carole DeJarnatt said...

Thank you for your added input. I agree with you totally and thank you for clarifying and adding.

The information listed is nothing new but never hurts to be reinforced and when people such as yourself add to it, all the more benefit we are to help others succeed.