Marketing has many aspects – that’s what can make it so much fun; but it can also make it seem bafflingly complex.
Just some of the things you’ll be considering in your marketing are branding; unique selling points, or differentiators; your strengths and weaknesses as a business; customer service; setting the right prices; competitors; choosing, finding and keeping the right kind of customers; choosing the right routes to market; finding strategic partnerships… and more.
Then there are the communications choices – like your website, social media, emails, advertising. The list can seem endless.
So where should you start?
Step 1: Start with understanding where you are. If you are already up and running in business, it’s likely you will already have made some key marketing decisions, whether you realise it or not. These may be strategic decisions about your target markets and what your product or service will look like. A marketing review (audit, health check) will help you properly understand those decisions, and examine whether they are right in the current market environment. It will also help you understand what’s working… and what isn’t.
Step 2: Decide where you want to be. Do you have a clear vision for your business? This is what you want to see your business becoming; and it’s important because it’s your definition of success. All the decisions you make should be leading you closer towards it, including your marketing decisions. If you don’t define success, you’ll never know if you’ve achieved it.
Step 3: Get specific and strategic. What does success tangibly look and feel like? It’s one thing to talk about 10% growth – quite another to say, for example, “we need three new customers a month who each spend £1000”. Getting specific suddenly makes everything real, and helps bring focus to your strategy (the big plan of how you’re going to do it).
Step 4: Marketing communications. So we’re at step 4, and we haven’t yet talked about the things most people think of as ‘marketing’! That’s because communicating is the last thing you should do… after you’ve done the thinking work to make sure it’s informed and purposeful, and appropriate for your objectives. Why? Because getting the thinking work done first helps eliminate the ‘fat’ which can creep into marketing programmes; and ensures you only do the things that will bring you closer to your business goals.
Step 5: Measure & manage. Is it working? Before starting, ensure you know how you’re going to measure results. There are online methods for measuring digital marketing success, of course. But for some companies it can be as simple as asking new enquirers how they heard about you – simple, yes, but you’d be surprised how many don’t do it! When you have measurements in place you can make decisions.
It’s this long-proven strategic marketing process of ‘Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control’ which I follow with clients. It’s clear, it’s structured, and it gives a framework so you can understand exactly where you are with your marketing, and what you need to do next.
Get in touch, and together we’ll put the right kind of structured, purposeful marketing plan in place for you.
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