Creating your Marketing Plan – How to make it more fun and less of a chore
‘Marketing is like sex, if you’re not enjoying it, you are not doing it right’ Peter Schofield
Ok, so comparing marketing to sex maybe going a bit too far, but there is serious point here, marketing should be an engaging and empowering part of running your business and yet for most business owners, marketing is something they don’t fully understand, possibly mistrust and therefore avoid or only engage in sporadically. This is serious issue because any business which is not good at marketing will not achieve its full growth and profit potential.
So what can you do to make putting together a marketing plan for your business less stressfull and maybe even enjoyable.
Well, in my experience, the best place to start is to challenge what we mean by a marketing plan. Traditionally this is seen as detailed document with lots of words and numbers which covers every aspect of marketing activity in great detail. This is fine if this is the way you like to work, but it doesn’t have to be like this, the fundamental requirement of a marketing plan is that should work for you and add value to your business. Some of the businesses I work with have found it helpful to see their marketing plan as the bridge between where they are now and where they want to be in one or two years time. I think this is great analogy because a robust marketing plan will also help to pass smoothly over the many challenges and obstacles which you will find on your journey.
When seen from this perspective the marketing plan can take a range of formats, and some of the most effective I have seen have been on a single sheet of paper or even in the form of a wall poster. Adopting a more flexible approach to what the output will look like allows you to focus more on the PROCESS – and this is where most of the benefit lies.
The second way to make the marketing planning process easier is to involve other people so that you are not facing the challenge alone. You don’t need a huge group and you definitely don’t want a Committee. A group of between 3 and 6 people is ideal to get a bit of energy and momentum going. If you are a one person business you will still benefit from having some help with this – if you are not sure who to invite think about asking a loyal customer or people you network with – I guarantee that you will be surprised at the insights they are able to bring to the process.
Just Do it!
The final step towards making the process easier is not to be too ambitious but to get STARTED. Arrange a first session (ideally with at least two other people) and focus on these three areas:-
- Where are we today
- Sales/Profit/Customers/Products and services
- What is going well and why? What is not going well and why?
- THIS IS THE IMPORTANT BIT!
- Why do our customers buy from us?
- What need does our product or service meet? Or What problem or pain does it remove?
- Why do customers choose or product or service rather than our competitors
- What are our objectives?
- What do we want to achieve in the next 1/2 years in terms of sales, profit, market share, growth ..
- How are we going to get there?
- Initial thoughts on where sales, growth etc might come from e.g. existing customers, new customers, new market segment, new product or service.
This is usually more than enough for a first session and don’t worry if you don’t manage to get through this. The main thing is that you have started and hopefully have generated some enthusiasm and some momentum. What you do need to do is to commit to the next step – set a date for a further session together with any actions which you have identified during the session – typically this will involve finding out some further information about a market, a competitor, a potential new product or service etc….
You have now done the hardest bit and you need to show the discipline to follow through. Part of this involves agreeing what needs to be documented in your final plan and what format this will take e.g. Word document, Powerpoint, Excel, Prezi, Wallboard, Poster etc…
Look out for other blogs which will help you with the next step in building a powerful marketing plan.
I love helping business owners get to grips with their marketing so if you have any questions or would like more information please visit the MGBA website www.mgba.co.uk or contact me using the details below:-
Mobile: 07831 550157