Are you achieving your sales growth targets? More often than not, sales growth is not realized because not enough time was spent on the details of developing an effective annual marketing plan. Do you really know the wants and needs of your target market? Do you measure each marketing strategy to determine where you are getting your best return from advertising expenditures? Do you have an annual marketing plan in writing……including the costs? Do you collect marketing ideas from your employees who are in contact with your customers?
Many businesses operate under the false impression that marketing is simply advertising to sell more products and services. In reality, a successful marketing plan entails so much more. Everything a company does is marketing. Therefore, a comprehensive, well thought out marketing plan is an investment in the company’s future.
An effective marketing plan will consist of the following:
- Developing fresh ideas that will build customer loyalty, grow repeat business, and drive an ever increasing number of new prospects to you.
- Delivering the right message to build your brand at every touch point.
- Fulfilling your customers stated and unstated needs.
- Differentiating your company to such a degree that it will shield you from competition.
- Capitalizing on proven marketing strategies from the past.
- Utilizing a multi-functional marketing plan that utilizes a variety of marketing strategies.
- Retaining your customers, building repeat revenue, increasing the average sale per customer, encouraging customer referrals, finding new prospects, and successfully converting prospects into new customers.
- Building meaningful relationships with your customers.
- Provide a blueprint or annual plan that is in writing with a budget.
How to get started on your marketing plan
1. Collect reliable research information from you customers and employees to develop a word picture of your target customer. What do they look like – economics, habits, desires, wants, lifestyle, etc.
2. Collect reliable information from both your customers and employees to determine the answers to the really tough questions, such as:
- What are you customer’s frustrations, needs, and wants?
- How can you make their life easier?
- How do you want to be perceived by your customer?
- How will your branding perception differentiate you from your competitors?
3. Write out what is going to be your message and the desired outcome at every touch point. Determine each touch point and write out how you are going to accomplish delivering your desired outcome at every touch point.
4. Decide upon the events or advertising mediums you are going to use to accomplish the following goals:
- Develop new prospects
- Convert prospects into new customers
- Build referral business from your customers
- Build repeat business from your customers
- Up-sell your customers related products and services
Consider the following advertising mediums: search for new prospects via a website with SEO efforts, phone prospecting, door to door, direct mail, your service vehicles, trade shows, trade magazines, or mass media’s such as radio, television, and newspaper. Promote to prospects with door hangers, flyers, and brochures. Promote to your customers for continued business with post cards and invoice stuffers. Build customer loyalty with educational information conveyed through your website or monthly newsletters. Utilize gifts, thank you, and holiday cards to also build customer loyalty and stand out from the competition.
5. Decide upon the frequency of each advertisement, the cost of each advertisement, and the annual budget relative to sales.
6. Establish an effective business process to measure the effectiveness of each advertisement in terms of revenue generated relative to cost.
Developing a comprehensive annual marketing plan requires a lot of fact gathering research and thoughtful planning. You need to know who you want to look like in your customer’s mind, what sales volume you want to achieve, how you are going to accomplish your goals, and what it is going to cost. You need to develop an annual written blueprint to guide you.
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