The Marketing Boutique

I know you have a lot going on, as a small business and entrepreneur you’re busy in tactical design, closing the sale, increasing lead generation and serving your clients. Most of your day revolves around understanding content marketing, implementing Facebook advertising and segmenting your next email campaign. Even when you’ll do an online search, you’ll read mainly about tactics, benefits of to-do lists or creative ideas instead of understanding strategy and the benefits in developing a marketing plan. Read More

As an entrepreneur, you just want to go, jump in and start selling your products and services.

I can totally relate. You are confident, excited and convinced that your product or service is the next big thing. And, so you get busy. You’re busy doing the daily tasks and administrative work in addition to selling and serving your clients.

While you’re going along with your day, your spidey senses are tingling, telling you that you are probably missing a large chunk of potential sales. And, that’s where taking the time to plan out your market, developing a marketing plan would help your company grow.

I’m not talking about the traditional 5-year marketing plan that took months to develop. Today’s marketing plans are nimble documents that are regularly updated. Let’s look closer at the five important reasons why taking the time to create a marketing plan is important:

1. The Power of Writing Down Your Goals and Objectives

A study conducted by the Dominican University, California did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. The study revealed that 42 percent were more likely to achieve their goals just by writing them down. Successful bloggers also write down their goals as well as their yearly content marketing objectives.

Once you have written goals and objectives, you need to ask yourself this question, “How will I get there?” As a result, this will force you to create an actionable marketing plan, expand on how to execute these goals and develop a clear sense of direction.

2. Taking The Time to Plan Out Your Strategy

The lesson here is an essential competitive strategy decision-making factor is – not so fast. Don’t be so quick to decide on which direction your company show take, take your time and don’t be so sure you know what you’re doing, even if you are a 30-year veteran in the industry. You are still a new entrepreneur.

Planning out your marketing strategy will make you see the BIG PICTURE and how it all comes together with this goal and that objective?

3. Competitive Insight

Don’t let this fall behind. In fact, competitive insight should be conducted monthly.

Keeping pace, knowing and understanding your competition will help your brand positioning, create better promotional programs and develop content that is more engaging with your prospective and current customers.

Of course, when the competition is undergoing a significant change or creating an innovative product, this group stays quite, but with weekly reporting, attending trade shows, listening to your salespeople and clients you can reduce the impact of any important industry and competition changes. You’ll be less reactive. However, most people don’t understand how to use competitive insight. You’ll probably create a list of product features and then develop a sales pitch on what makes your product better. Instead, use the competitive insight for Change, Understand, Predict, and Plan (CUPP®) and not as an information search-and-distribute function.

4. Know Your Marketing Tactics

Quite simply, there are just too many companies “doing” for the sake of doing but not fully understanding what’s involved in making a marketing tactic successful or even useful. It’s there, it’s popular, everyone is writing about it and claiming success, so will I do it too.

But, is it?

If you own a wellness spa company, do you have enough content and manpower to start-up a monthly newsletter? What about the cosmetic manufacturer, do you understand what’s involved in purchasing a list? Should you even buy a list? Or, the most popular one, “we need to go to that trade show” and the only preplanning they do is fill out the forms. Investing in the wrong marketing tactics or not understanding how a tactic works are costly mistakes, financially as well as in your brand reputation.

5. Historical Review

As your fiscal year approaches, you have the excellent opportunity to review what you have accomplished and what didn’t work out because you took the time to write down your marketing plan. By creating your marketing plan at the same time as your fiscal year, it creates a good habit as well as allows you the time to clean out time wasters, crystalize your brand vision and stay focused on what needs to happen in the following year for your company to grow and be profitable.

It is also critical to review your goals frequently so you can course correct them as you move on. If you are a solo-entrepreneur or work as part of a team in health and wellness, a strong review process will help you stay on track with your big picture goals while you dive deep into implementing the tactics on a day-to-day basis.

Resources:

[Updated: July 2016]

Invest In Marketing Communications Planning

When it comes to building a business in the age of the Internet, some if not most young companies will forgo developing a marketing communications plan. Instead, they will fall back to more comfortable methods such as promote the heck out of the product and hope for the best.

People now search the Internet for easy-to-read blog posts or hire someone from a different country for $5.00/hour to develop the tool that is meant to grow their company.

After listening to Barbara Corcoran’s interview with Daniel Roth from LinkedIn, I found my business partner! Barbara’s business philosophy is based on an old-fashion idea that should be new again. What Barbara also explains during the interview is a claim that she is proud of her ‘getting angry’, trait. It is a trait that she has used well in closing more sales, building the right partnerships and getting on Shark Tank!

Top tips for building a business

  1. Have a goal
  2. Know your skillset
  3. Bring in people that are opposite your skillset to help achieve your goal
  4. Have a plan but don’t be married to it
  5. Have traction, don’t give up.
  6. Don’t listen to opinion makers

Develop a marketing communications plan

  1. Understand Strategy Versus Tactics: A list of tactics is not a strategy. A strategy is the decision to invest in a direction. A marketing communications plan includes strategy and tactical design and the four P’s. Yes, the four P’s are still relevant!
  2. Marketing Mix: Look at everything as a possible tool for your business, it shouldn’t be just about your blog or trade shows. Integrated and measure.
  3. Target Market: You can expand to other markets. You don’t have to follow what Harvard Business School tells you! But you need to understand how businesses grow and how to enter any new market. So do your homework, which the Marketing Communications Plan will force you to do that.
  4. The Plan is Fluid: As someone with over 14 years in the marketing profession, I will tell you first hand that this is very true. While the marketing communications plan is critical, life does get in the way. Staff changes, product development mistakes, lousy event and even the bad weather, can have a negative impact on sales. Your business needs to be agile, it needs to be able to change quickly.
  5. Keep Track of Your Industry: Very important to know what is happening in your industry and why. It will help you to ask the right and tough questions.
  6. Do Research: Everything that you put on your Marketing Communications Plan needs to be based on facts, clear, unbiased observations, customer comments, trends and numbers.

Invest In New Sales Channels

A good marketing team will be online checking your competition daily and providing weekly reports. Your competitors’ online activity reveals quite a bit about their internal business and next tactical moves. At the same time, when your junior marketing intern asks a question on a LinkedIn Group, this to says a lot about your business as well! So, don’t give away the shop.

Social media is also a valid sales channel. In particular Facebook and Instagram. Learn all you can about these channels and build your community wisely.

Do you need help with your marketing communications planning? We’re your team! Contact us today!

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When it comes to building a business in the age of the Internet, some if not most young companies will forgo developing a marketing communications plan. Instead, they will fall back to more comfortable methods such as promote the heck out of the product and hope for the best.

People now search the Internet for easy-to-read blog posts or hire someone from a different country for $5.00/hour to develop the tool that is meant to grow their company. Read More

How to plan for B2B growth, Part I

istock_generic_179893 aIf you are in B2B, preparing for company growth isn’t easy. There are so many moving parts to manage and control, even the best of companies can get it wrong sometimes. But when all the right signs are pointing that it is your time to grow, how can you not make the move? Read More