It’s the middle of the summer holidays, and you’re thinking about going to the beach instead of going to meetings. Now, when business is likely to be slow, it’s a great time to schedule a meeting to develop your company’s marketing plan. You can hold this meeting once your key players have returned to work.
What are Your Goals?
Is one of your goals is to make more money? The tried and tested way to make more money is to make more sales. Especially with Brexit looming. That means marketing.
You are probably diligent about doing an annual business plan. Perhaps you have a marketing plan for one of your major target markets. But have you sat down and come up with a thought-out overall marketing plan before?
Time for Change – Time for Planning
Well, it’s time to change that. So close the office for a day and hold a marketing planning session. Better still conduct the meeting “off-site”. Get away from the office, phones, visitors, emails and social media.
If you haven’t developed a business or marketing plan for your company before, you need to start with the basics.
Time to Define
Before you plunge into discussing marketing tactics, such as where to place ads or what trade shows to exhibit at, you need to set time aside to define key aspects of your company, such as:
* your strategic position in the marketplace
* what truly differentiates you from competitors
* the nature and type of products or services you sell
* your major target market
* your pricing levels
To make your marketing meeting effective, in advance:
* draw up a draft agenda and circulate it
* edit and finalise your agenda
* get copies of your current marketing materials
* gather data on your company’s financial performance
* do some research on markets and tactics
To draw up a draft agenda, sit down with a key staff person or two and brainstorm about the topics you might want to include.
Next, circulate the draft agenda to everyone who’ll be attending. Then, edit the agenda down. Instead of trying to cram everything into one day, eliminate some of the items. If necessary, set aside another time to discuss those matters.
Pull together background material to bring to your marketing meeting. This includes doing some research, especially about potential target markets or costs of certain marketing approaches.
If, for instance, you sell framed motivational quotes direct to the public, you may think training companies might be one new target market for your products. So, before your planning meeting, find info on how many training organisations there are; what publications or organisations there are for trainers, how much it costs to advertise in those publications, and so on. This data helps you decide, in your meeting, whether training businesses are the best new target market for you.
Your draft agenda can include topics such as:
* Marketing goals
* Overall company branding
* Decision on which products to emphasise in marketing efforts
* Analysis and selection of key target markets
* Analysis and selection of marketing tactics
* Discussion of online marketing efforts and website
Marketing tactics we’ll discuss include:
* public relations
* direct marketing
* point-of-purchase marketing
* print marketing material (collateral)
* trade shows
I’ve separated out a discussion of online efforts, because they are so important. These include:
* website – design, content and functions
* email newsletter and blog
* search engine marketing
* social media
* online advertising
When you finalise your agenda, make sure there’s time in the session for some brainstorming. After all, you want to generate some good new ideas to grow your business.
Just Do It
Make certain you then do actual decision making. Don’t wait for the last hour to make all your decisions, either. Instead, make decisions throughout the day.
Assign responsibilities for every marketing activity you choose. It’s one thing to talk about doing marketing. If you want marketing to actually happen, assign duties and deadlines.
You’re going to come up with more good ideas than you can carry out. So use your planning session to eliminate or at least postpone until next year marketing activities that are beyond your scope now. Remember, this is a PLANNING session, so you’ve got to come away with a PLAN. Then, you can go to the beach, time and time again!
We have a teamof experienced business facilitators that would be delighted to help you with your business and marketing planning process. Contact Laurie on 07973 361 994 or email: LB@thebsp.co.uk