I can’t believe it!
In over 30 years’ of consulting to small businesses on their growth strategies, I have worked in the UK, the US, Asia and Australia, and while the largest majority of small business owners understand the need to plan and budget, and even gradually realise the value of systems and organisational structures, most of them still question the need for a marketing plan.
It doesn’t matter where they are – I think deep down inside they just think that marketing is something that “happens” when they start their business. They have something good to sell. They believe in the vision and values of their business. Build it and they will come – and if they don’t come as quickly, ok, we’ll market….we’ll advertise!
Sorry people – advertising is not marketing.
No, marketing is a whole system of supportive components around your business that should be designed to attract your lowest hanging fruit customer to buy. Advertising is only one component and is part of the message that you broadcast.
A marketing plan designs that system to work together – get your copy of the free “Contents Of A Marketing Plan” download to see just what it includes.
The reason you need a marketing plan is to make sure that you design the system right. You need to aim with a sniper rifle to get your target customer, not throw a bag of beans out the door and hope one bean hits somebody!
Is your marketing strategically minded, or is it tactical doing a number of activities that don’t string together, that don’t push your leads down the sales funnel?
You need a marketing plan to ensure that all the components work strategically so that you can focus your product messages at the ideal target customer.
You need to analyse your product in the eyes of the customer. Don’t just stop at the pride in how your product is put together, ask yourself what your product really means to your customer? Find your real product – to a customer a drill is not just a drill, it is a hole-in-the-wall-maker! That is the real product for people who sell drills!
Then with that knowledge, get to understand who your real customers are. What group of people is really wanting a hole-in-the-wall-maker? They could be serious tradesmen, heavy-duty DIYers, or just the casual home-maker wanting to put up pictures. Each category will have different needs, and it is very hard to pitch your product at all those needs – which ones make them ready to buy as your low hanging fruit?
Consider your pricing strategy – will it attract the low hanging fruit because of their needs? The casual home-maker does not need a premium drill at a high price.
Armed with all the above analysis, then you can consider what are the most appropriate marketing activities – appropriate for your target market, and appropriate for those segments of them in different parts of the sales funnel, whether they need to learn about you, or to gain more trust, or to be converted to customers.
How can you even think you can build it, wait until they come, and if they don’t just post an ad without understanding what you sell (in the customer’s eyes), who you are selling to, and how to appeal to their need to buy?
I deal with the creation of a focused marketing plan in my 7 step process called the SMART Marketing Program. If you want to know more about it you can check out my website here.
For more free resources to create strategy, provide leadership and grow your business, get over to my website teikoh.com and look through the blogs and archives and explore the products.