Small businesses approach everything in a very pragmatic way. Lack of funding, competing time commitments, absence of support staff and many other reasons account for the differences between the average small business and a well-established mid-sized or large business.
For those involved in the operation and growth of a small business, we present a Do It Yourselfer’s approach to Marketing Planning based on the same principles employed by large corporations with budgets that allow the work to be carried out by advertising agencies or marketing consultants.
These are the steps involved:
- Create and articulate a focused business vision and mission statement.
- Identify specific and measurable marketing objectives.
- Develop the strategies and tactics that will allow you to achieve your objectives.
- Create a clear and concise communication platform.
- Determine 3-6 bullet-proof, promotable differential advantages about your business.
- Decide on a defined target with a demographic profile that includes lifestyle characteristics.
- Set and stay within a realistic marketing budget.
- Identify and carry out the due-diligence on your competitors and/or partners.
- Recognize and reward customer loyalty and do the same for employees.
- Develop and maintain an up to date and accurate customer database. Use it!
- Keep your finger on the pulse of your marketplace and the overall economic environment.
- Continue to be inspired — find and study business/marketing role models regularly.
- Measure and monitor your marketing accomplishments with respect to the original objectives.
- Revisit and adjust your plans as needed or on a regular basis — twice a year, quarterly, annually.
Follow the Process Timetable and Enjoy Significant Progress
Within the first 3 months complete the above steps as fully as possible. And use the schedule below on a continuing basis.
Review the status of active marketing projects.
Review the marketing calendar and accomplishments, comparing actual results vs. forecasts.
Review the effectiveness of the objectives and strategies and amend tactics accordingly.
Review, refine and reaffirm the marketing plan.
Now you have been armed with the “what to do” and the “when to do it” with regard to planning your marketing efforts. Below you will find a glossary to help define the terms used in the steps that must be taken.
The time and mental energy invested in this process will yield a return that should prove to be many times the initial deposit.
A GLOSSARY OF MARKETING TERMS:
Budget: The detailed financial component of the strategic plan that guides the allocation of resources and provides a mechanism for identifying deviations of actual from desired performance so corrective action can be taken.
Communications platform: The declared policies of a group or a business that will guide the attitudes held by the employees and help shape the tone and manner of all communications that are issued by the company.
Database: A collection of information about current and prospective customers that generally includes demographic and psychographic data as well as purchase history and a record of brand contacts.
Demographics: The study of total size, sex, territorial distribution, age, composition, and other characteristics of human populations; the analysis of changes in the make-up of a population.
Differential Advantage: 1. A property of any product or business that facilitates making a claim of uniqueness over other products or businesses in its category. 2. An advantage unique to an organization; an advantage extremely difficult to match by a competitor.
Due diligence: The thorough and rigorous investigation of a business or person. A common example of due diligence in various industries is the process through which a potential acquirer evaluates a target company or its assets for acquisition.
Mission Statement: An expression of a company’s history, managerial preferences, environmental concerns, available resources, and distinctive competencies to serve the public. It is used to guide the company’s decision making and strategic planning.
Objective: The desired or needed result to be achieved by a specific time. An objective is broader than a goal, and one objective can be broken down into a number of specific goals. Like goals, objectives serve to provide guidance, motivation, evaluation, and control.
Strategy: The directions that the business will follow and use as a guide to implement the allocation of resources and effort. It also provides the logic that integrates the perspectives of functional departments and operating units, and points them all in the same direction.
Tactics: Short-term actions undertaken to achieve implementation of a broader strategy.
Target Market: A particular segment of a total population on which the retailer focuses its merchandising expertise to satisfy in order to accomplish its profit objectives.
Vision: A guiding theme that sums up the nature of the business and its intentions for the future. These intentions are based on the way management believes the future will unfold and what the business can and should be in the future.