digitalWith Christmas and New Year well and truly behind us, 2012 brings great promise as we look forward to taking on new challenges and growing our business.  So, we’ve updated a post from a while back given it’s appropriateness for SMEs at this time of year and we’re talking about Marketing Plans – that vital document that helps you plan and manage activities to drive your business forward this year.

Often a Marketing Plan is something that’s taken care of by the Marketing Manager or Marketing Department and apart from negotiating budgets with Finance, or maybe talking to Sales on issues that will impact on their performance, it’s often something that nobody else gives a thought to.

But what if you don’t have a Marketing Manager or a Marketing Department?  Does the need for planning your marketing not occur because you’ve nobody to take care of it?  Or maybe you never really needed to consider a plan as the business was steady, there has been a demand and what you’ve done so far has worked for you?

Well for 2012 we’re recommending that you add another resolution to your list – to create A Marketing Plan For Your Business.  And that applies whether you’re a sole trader or working with a number of employees.

You don’t need to have a big budget or an expert to hand to assist, but start with either a blank piece of paper or a blank screen and make some headings:

  • Budget
  • Product
  • Target
  • Channels
  • Goals
  • Seasonality
  • Campaigns
  • Tactics
  • Resources
  • Competitors
  • Research
  • Evaluation
  • Economy
  • Flexibility
  • Mission

Take each section and write a couple of words or a few lines as they come to you.  If you can’t do it all at one sitting, fill in what you can now and make an appointment in your diary with yourself to come back at a dedicated time (very soon!) for the next session.  And keep it to hand for the year, dipping in and out as necessary.

If you decide to outsource this area, tread carefully and make sure you are dealing with somebody who has the real experience to appreciate business and to make a difference.  Check out what they’ve done in the past – if they’re planning to market your business effectively they’ll be marketing themselves effectively through linkedin or online too surely? And, if they guarantee you a quick trip to number one on google or a guaranteed number of leads every month be very wary – nothing is ever guaranteed and many’s the person stung for believing the hype!

When creating a plan it should be unique to your business.  Buying a plan off the web or a template for your social media or PR are not a good idea.  You can take guidance from such sources but if somebody is selling you a template without consultation with you, the business owner, what exactly do they know about you?  About your business?

Make sure that 2012 is the year you plan to drive sales to your website or into your store.  Make sure that 2012 is the year that you make things happen for you as opposed to letting things happen to you.

And if you need a help with Marketing during 2012, make sure to speak to The Marketing Shop for expertise that counts and marketing tailored to suit your business.

 

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