Once you’ve decided what you are going to do with your business, service, or product, it is time to develop a solid marketing strategy to let the world (or at least your target market) know what you’re doing. Marketing can be costly, so it is important to put some effort into a marketing plan to make the most efficient and effective use of your marketing dollars.
First step in designing a marketing plan? Determine your target market(s). Who wants or needs your product or service? The more specific you are, the better the chance that you can reach exactly who you need to reach.
Once you’ve identified your specific target market(s), it is a good idea to determine what your marketing budget will be. Then you can brainstorm how to make the best use of those dollars. Do you need to attend trade shows? Purchase/rent contact lists? How can you leverage social media, contacts you already have, email marketing, advertising, and/or direct mail to get the most “bang” for your marketing buck? Do you have a marketing professional on staff? Do you need to hire a consultant to help you with strategy, branding, messaging, etc.?
Your marketing plan will be most effective if you choose a variety of ways to reach people, and set a schedule for implementing each of them.
Don’t overlook “internal” marketing. Does your staff know the message you are trying to send? Are they well-versed in your product or service line? When a current or potential customer reaches your company, do they get a professional and helpful person on the phone, someone who is just trying to get through the week (and it’s obvious), or an automated run-around? Make sure your WHOLE business reflects and LIVES your mission and vision.
And finally, be sure to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and make adjustments along the way as necessary. This will assure you are getting the best return on your marketing investment and your marketing efforts are always meeting your organization’s goals and objectives.
What’s your biggest challenge with developing and implementing a strategic marketing plan?