I am often asked why a small business might need something as high brow sounding as a strategic marketing plan? Surely that is only needed for big budgets, big brands, big companies?
I used to work for one of those big corporates and, yes, we did need a strategic marketing plan as we had big heads of department that we had to please and ensure that we were doing our job right in the marketing department and all pulling in the same direction.
Having said that, I firmly believe that the same principals apply to small business, without a strategic marketing plan you have no sense of direction, no clear goals to work to and nothing to measure against to see if you were successful.
Marketing should not be shooting from the hip and going with
any opportunity that lands on your desk. With a strategic marketing plan you
know where you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there. It
is a ‘route map’ to achieve objectives such as higher sales, greater brand
awareness, higher market penetration and every business no matter how big or
small should be following their own ‘marketing route map’.
We, at Smart Marketing, work to a 10 step process that applies to all business types and in a series of blogs we are going to explain each of these steps and how you go about constructing a well crafted plan that will give your business your very own ‘marketing route map’
STEP ONE – DEFINE WHAT IT IS YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE
There is no point in making wishy washy statements such as ‘we want sales to improve’ or ‘we want higher brand visibility’ these are not statements that can be measured and your goals should be something you can look back on and report on to either yourself as a business owner or to your key stakeholders which may even be your own staff.
Defining what you want to achieve at the start of a marketing plan should provide the direction for all the activity you aim to do and that activity should aim to deliver on that goal. It could be
increasing sales by x% over the next 12 months
acquiring x new customers every 6 months
generate £x revenue from existing customers within the next 12 months
shift the focus of earnings from the business from one area to another by a specific amount perhaps more B2B business than B2C
Once you have defined what you want to achieve you are in a good place to consider the next steps on the road to building your marketing strategy. Step two comes next
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