Yesterday, I met someone for a networking meeting at a local restaurant. As I was sitting down I tumbled to the floor. …..yikes!! I thought the chair was there , but I neglected to look before I sat and fell on my……well you get the point. And so did the other 10 people around me. So, what does this have to do with marketing? Well the way I see it, if I did better planning and analyzed my current environment a little better and had seen that my chair had in fact fallen over, I would not have failed in my efforts to sit on it. Marketing is the same way, without proper planning, you will likely flop in your marketing endeavors.
Planning is essential for any major project including a wedding, an event, and a marketing strategy. Without a clear blueprint of what you want to accomplish and how you are going to get there, you will end up wasting a lot of time and not achieving any results. If you lack a solid public relations plan, no one will know about you and you may as well not be in business. And if you don’t know how to develop and cultivate relationships with your leads, prospects and customers, then you can, how does the saying go?… kiss your profits goodbye. Are you feeling overwhelmed yet?
If you start by googling “marketing planning” you will come up with pages and pages of definitions, templates, consulting services and more. It would take you days just to sort through all of this information. So rather than doing that, save some time and continue reading.
Basically, you need the following elements:
- A marketing plan which includes minimally, a description of your goals and objectives with a list of action plans as well as assessment of your market environment with target market and competitor analysis. You will also have performance analysis with measurement metrics.
- A compelling market message, something that will articulate how you help your target market solve a problem. And you need to be able to communicate this in a way that is memorable.
- Some sort of system to manage your contact relationships and help you to make knowledgeable predictions on business revenue and sources of business opportunities.
- A method to calculate your marketing return on investment so you know if you are spending money in the right places.
- Templates for all the types of planning documents you use on a daily basis like fax, memo, goal setting, agenda, customer survey and so on. Not critical, but definitely nice to have and useful to have on hand.
You may have all this information “in your head” but if you don’t have these things documented you have no way of tracking how you are performing. In addition, if you are looking to seek funding from a bank or other source, you must have a formal plan created. You may also take care of things “as they happen” or prefer to “manage in the moment” but this can be time-consuming and difficult to execute when as a small business owner, you typically have a lot going on.
I specialize in helping small businesses do marketing affordably and what I will offer up is a way to simplify this process and have everything you need to get started. My BD-PRo Marketing Toolkit contains all the tools and resources every small business needs to do planning, public relations, and business development so you don’t have to build this on your own. It is designed with the small business owner in mind. You don’t have a lot of time and probably not a lot of budget, so this toolkit is a way for you to complete the planning process efficiently and effectively. You won’t have to stay awake at night worrying about where to find everything.
What I listed above is just a segment of what is included in the planning section of the toolkit.For more information, go to www.bdpromarketing.com. Next, I will address what companies need to do to increase visibility in the market with a strategic public relations strategy. This is an extremely underutilized marketing tool but it can achieve huge results in a very affordable way. You may want to consider subscribing to my blog so you don’t miss anything.