When you’re in the process of putting together your company’s marketing plan you’re actually mapping its path toward success. A marketing plan should not only determine the “how” of your marketing but the “why, when and where” of it. There are distinct steps to consider when formulating your plan:
- 1. Understand your company’s mission and vision
- 2. You need to have a complete understanding of the business itself. Sure, you sell widgets but, is that all you do?
- 3. Hone in on your market, your audience – your potential and best customer
- 4. Delineate the steps you need to implement to take your company from Point A to Point B to meet those marketing goals.
Do you and your marketing team thoroughly understand your company’s mission and vision statement? Are both of you working toward the same goal?
Consider this: your marketing team believes the company wants to expand to an overseas market, but the board members want to expand market share on your home turf, but to those in your demographic that you haven’t yet reached. To reach Point B, everyone must be on the same path.
You will also need to fully grasp your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Is your brand well-known and loved? Is there some negative PR being spread? Who are your competitors and what are they doing that you’re not – and vice versa. Have you realistically identified your prospects and demographic? Can you expand it? Are there any add on services you can (or do) offer that you hadn’t considered marketing more proactively?
Where and how are you targeting your marketing plan? If you’re not already online, you should be. Also, it’s not enough to simply be online, you need to market correctly. What are your company’s key words? Does your marketing team understand SEO (search engine optimization)? If you’re online but not using the correct words to get your company “found” by search engines and by potential customers, you are simply spinning your wheels. Keep in mind, it’s not enough to use the keyword “widget” you also want to think of other words to incorporate such as: copper widgets, widgets manufactured in California, award-winning widget manufacturer, etc.
After you’ve covered the bases, now is the time to focus on the marketing objective. Never lose sight of the fact that the marketing objective is one of the goals. You will want to set milestones. Say for example you set up a Facebook Fan page – track your visitors, followers, comments. If you have a blog, incorporate analytics so you can determine who is coming to your site, how long they’re staying, what pages they are looking at, etc.
Bottom line is what counts when it comes to marketing. If you aren’t reaching potential customers and holding onto current ones, there will be no business to market. Also when looking at your bottom line, don’t forget to look into low-cost, no-cost marketing options in the social networking world – sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, building a free blog post in the event you don’t have that incorporated into your existing website. Add contacts, friends, enter chatrooms focused around your company’s focus area. Seek out relevant blogs and leave comments on them.