Every business is different, so every marketing plan is different. But that doesn’t mean the methodology and process that gets us there changes that much. For every client engagement here are our basic steps to get to the point of a marketing plan:
We need to understand your market. We need to get our heads around the various audience profiles you’re selling to. What gets them going, what upsets them. What problems do they have (in their lives, at work, etc. – wherever it is your product/service helps them). This helps create what’s called segmentation.
How do we do this? Through research. We arrange interviews with your key personnel, partners, and customers. Think you know why your customers buy from you? Ten will get you five that you don’t! One of the hardest things for a small business owner to accept is that customers don’t look at what you sell in the same way as you do.
Once we’ve gone through this Discovery phase, we can make recommendations on how to move forward. Where best to spend your marketing budget to generate the most effective bang for your buck.
2. Marketing Strategy
From here it’s about building clear targeting, creating very tight and distinctive positioning to these audience segments.
Targeting your marketing is crucial for a small business. Even if you think your target market is “everyone” (hint: it’s not) unless you have a limitless budget you’re going to waste a sizable percentage of your marketing spend trying to convince people who don’t want to buy from you.
If you spread yourself too thinly you’ll end up making no impact – and no money.
What’s far better is to focus on a particular audience segment (or group of segments) for all you’re worth. If the segmentation work has been done properly, selecting the most appropriate audience groups should be a no-brainier.
The more targeted you are, the clearer your positioning and differentiation, the easier it becomes to put together the tactical plan. Once you know who you’re targeting – what they’re looking for, how they expect to be spoken to, their shared attributes, etc. – the tactical plan almost writes itself.
It’s not specifically about content marketing, advertising, social media, and all that stuff. Such marketing tactics are important, but there are other, more important, things to think about.
The goal should be to create messaging and communication that reaches the target audience group through the most appropriate marketing channels.
It’s about the destination, not the journey.