Everyone has an idea of what they think is marketing. Is it advertising, public relations, web design and positioning, social media or something even bigger? It is! A successful Marketing Plan is all of these things and more! I often hear clients say that social media is the only way to go. With this attitude, they mistakenly miss other golden opportunities because they’re too busy to look around. Not that I don’t think social media isn’t one of the most cost effective tools you can use- but it can’t do the job of a full-fledged plan. Start with a little bit of introspection.
Define goals for your company, for yourself.
Find your purpose.
Discover and find your audience.
Engage your audience on multiple platforms in a plethora of ways.
Audience Engagement will be key to achieving your goals!
I suggest using a journal or a pros/cons list to help you answer some of these questions. Perhaps you don’t know all of the answers until you begin rolling up your sleeves and putting things into action. Start with the goal in mind and plan your way to it backwards, creating an attainable plan of action. The plan can be constantly in flux as long as the primary goal is stationary or better yet- higher!
In the hospitality field, we often say that our job is to “sell the dream” to potential visitors. They dream about sitting on the beach or taking a tour down Charleston’s cobblestone streets. We want them to make the dream a reality. Every business or service has a dream that they’re selling. A dentist sells the dream of straighter, whiter teeth. A lawn service may make you dream about being yard of the month. But first you have to plant that dream in their mind and that is where a marketing plan goes from mediocre to magnificent!
Successful plans rely on the needs of your client. No one wants to be sold! You can’t just say, “hey, I have this to sell. Do you want to buy it?” Because most of the time, the answer is, “No. I’m going to ignore you and keep scrolling down the page till I get to some cute cat videos.” Think of what your product or service fulfills for your client. Is it emotional, physical, financial, or something else entirely? Define that fulfillment and you’ll be able to define the best marketing tools for you.
We are all at an unique point in time, the rise of technology has touched everyone’s lives on the planet and changed our marketing toolbox. It overflows with social media platforms, e-blasts, websites, e-commerce, and the good old reliable tools: print, radio, billboards, and tv. These older tools are reliable, tell your story and can boost interest in your digital efforts.
How do you measure your success? Gauging the success of a marketing plan cannot be done by simply counting coupons or measuring visitors. It is the overall impact of many efforts that create real change for your company. A well-executed marketing plan must have time to grow and develop, just like your business. Set reassessment times so you can look at what you’re doing and see if its making a difference. Ideally, you’d like to have a plan in place for a year and then see how much your business has increased in that time.
The most important thing to know about marketing is that you have to shout it from the mountaintops. You cannot rely on someone just walking by or searching for your website. You have to go get your customers and marketing is how you do it!