What is in a marketing plan?
Marketing plan considerations
We have listed just some of the things you will need to answer the question “What is in a marketing plan”. More importantly we have listed things that some marketing plans fail to address. By looking at the things we have listed you are moving towards developing a marketing strategy for your small business.
There are marketing plan templates everywhere and they focus on Return on investment, sales targets and advertising budgets. These are all marketing considerations. But the things listed here for your marketing plan are marketing considerations. Things like your name and your product, fundamental considerations when it comes to your marketing strategy.
Your name can be one of the most important marketing tools for your small business. I was on a radio show talking small business and the host said she thought a name didn’t have to say what you did. She used the example of Apple and IBM. But they have billion dollar advertising budgets you don’t. It is easier to understand what “Sydney Tyres” does and what may be sold there. If you still have the urge for your own word, try making a logo containing the initials of the name.
I know having a name that states what you do is boring. But it is the cheapest advertising you will do. Your name becomes your marketing message.
If you already have a name changing it may be more of a problem than when you are just starting. But a name is an important marketing consideration for a small business. In your marketing plan explain why you chose the name that you did.
Is your product relevant and still needed? Opening a shop that specializes in VHS tapes is going to fail. The technology has gone and most of the tapes are ending up in land fill.
Can you make a package of your product? This can encourage multiple purchases. Is there still an audience for what you are selling? Are you marketing to the right audience for your product. Look at your product and see if it is time to expand your range or even move on.
Messaging in your marketing
Colour is an important emotional trigger. Make sure that the colours you are using fit with the message you are trying to get across to your customers. Lime green, orange and yellow are all fresh and lively, not the colour scheme for a funeral company. Once you decide on a colour never move from it. Use it in everything. You have to make that colour your colour in the minds of your customers. Think of a red can of soft drink. Coke is probably the brand that came to mind. They own red in the soft drink category.
Here is a previous podcast about the importance of colour http://askfindbuy.com/blog/what-colour-is-best-for-business/
Think of a logo as a hyperlink to your customers mind. Your logo is a visual trigger to the feelings your customers have about your business. Some people think logos aren’t needed anymore. But I disagree.
When you think of a logo think of all its uses. You will need a logo (or versions of your logo) that are long (for a letterhead), square so it can be an avatar in social media as well as greyscale and black and white. Get a logo can be used everywhere.
We have a simple worksheet for thinking about a logo and a brand. It is one of the things we send out to people on our email list. Subscribe and we will send it to you, plus other free tools as we find them.
5 Look and Feel.
A combination of the colours and messages and images go into your look and feel. This is a little more of an emotional call. If you think you are too close to the process, ask someone you trust if your overall look and feel is right for your business.
6 Customer identification.
Are you targeting the right people? Have you identified your customers correctly. Go back through your last 12 months worth of sales and see what they tell you about your customers. Are the male or female, old or young etc.
A tagline is seen as a blast from the past for many people. I think they are so important for getting your business message into just a few words. Work on this and it will direct your business and your thinking.
What words do your customers expect to see? Do they have their own slang? Do they expect highly technical terms? Think about this before you start typing.
9 Where are your customers?
This could be a location question. It can also mean, are your customers on an email list, are they on facebook, are they in a single suburb. Knowing this reduces waste in advertising.
10 When are your customers?
When do your customers need you? There will be a trend; you will be able to see this if you examine previous invoices and sales. Just before the wave comes is when you should really gear up your marketing to make sure you are in the front of your customers mind.
Now that you have made some decision regarding your marketing and what you are going to put into your marketing plan you have to be consistent. If you are the off road tire specialist, don’t offer piano lessons. Get your colours, images and message and stick with them. People will learn them and this is a short cut to the customer’s mind. If you move from your plan you are asking the customer to remember you in more than one way. This lowers your credibility and makes your image confusing in the customers mind.
12 What do you own?
Do you own the logo and brands that you are associated with? If you don’t own them then perhaps you should think of developing a parallel brand. If you are an Apple reseller, perhaps if it is allowed you can develop an image as a computer expert as well as being a Apple reseller. You should own as much of the material that you rely on for your living as possible.
13 What do you want to achieve?
You have to have an aim. Set some goals you want to achieve with this marketing plan. What do you want to achieve in the next 6months, 12 months and three years. A brand is developed over a number of years. It is built on what you achieve in the short and medium term. This is why consistency is so very important. What you do now will impact in three years. If you change day the real benefits can be three years away. So if you change every six months you will never get to the long term benefits.
So that is a list of things to consider when developing a marketing plan that goes beyond the normal targets and schedules. A marketing plan should be part of your small business plan. Small business need to plan more than large business because they have less resources to waste. A small business marketing plan can give a small business real focus and reduce costs. This reduction in cost is like an instant boost to profits.
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Until next time keep working on your marketing and I hope everything you do brings you success.
Craig is the host of the "Making Business and Sale Work" podcast. Craig has experience in many online and offline business as well as working for many years as a criminal analyst.