PodCast December 2015 - Marketing planning tips for Small Businesses

4th December 2015

As a small, growing business we are big advocates of supporting independent businesses, so in a bid to give something back on Small Business Saturday, we've created this free mini marketing planning guide to help small businesses to grow.

Getting started

When starting a plan it’s important to define three things:

  1. Where are you now?
  2. Where do you want to get to?
  3. How will you get there?

1. “The Where"

Start with the foundations: where are you now?

To plan effectively you'll need to do a spot of research first, but getting this right from the get-go will make sure you are marketing the right products, at the right audience, and in the right way!

  • Map out what you have sold, when and to whom in the last two years - this will tell you who your current customer base are, where they live and what they like. By overlaying value by channel onto this, you will see what your most valuable products/services are and who your target audience is for each, as well as how they prefer to transact with you.
  • Understand your customers: Where do your valuable / target customers live? What is their demographic? What do they buy from you and why? How do they like to buy?
  • Targeting: Use the insight into your valuable customers to build up a target audience for use in any future marketing campaign. TIP: When you're approached by advertisers, this is a useful sense check to allow you to challenge whether the publication or website is aligned to your target audience.
  • Map out your competitors (for local businesses with shop fronts, geographical boundaries matter). What do you offer that’s different? What do you offer that’s better? TIP: Identify any gaps in your own product / service offering and in theirs to help you to differentiate on more than just price.
  • Understand when you need marketing support the most. When are you quiet or busy? Do you have seasonal peaks and troughs?

 

2. “The What”

Set your objectives: where do you want to go?

  • Make sure your marketing objectives are aligned to your business plan. These should be clear and define where your value will come from, and by when.
  • Objectives can be financial and non-financial. For example: to grow market share by 10% in 24 months, To increase footfall in store by 5%, to increase website visits by 15% or to increase online sales by £30k in 12 months.
  • Objectives can also span several categories, from cross-selling new products into existing markets or entering new geographic regions with existing products. 

 

3. “The How”

This is the detail - How are you going to get there?

Each goal you have set now needs to have behind it a list of concrete actions you will take to make this goal a reality. Each action needs to be time bound as well. Think about these factors:

  • External factors: what is happening in your target customers’ world that they will be interested in? A local event, an exhibition, or school holidays? Plot these out as it will help you to use this in your marketing content and understand your customers’ world at a point in time.
  • Milestones: Plot out what new products, channels and services you are launching and when: this may be a new line or simply the start of a sales period. Plot out your key current product / service sales cycles too.
  • Trends: Plot out key sales rounds and when you are quiet and busy. The idea here is to be to be able to smooth out the troughs and cope with the peaks.
  • Campaigns: Using the plan and trends, identify when you need to run marketing campaigns and what the focus of these will be. Make sure these align to the goals you have set.
  • Channels. Pick your channels: to get the best impact, an integrated message always works best. Marketing doesn't have to be expensive! Channels range from advertising, online, social media and PR. Choose the right channel for your campaign objective and for your audience – are they on social media? Do they get their news from local papers or trade magazines?

 

TIP: We recommend at least an 18 month plan as a minimum. A plan should also be a living document that is reviewed updated continuously.

 

Template

For a free planning template or to find out more information, get in touch:  hello@themarketingpod.co.uk

About us

The Marketing Pod was born when co-founders Jenny Hughes and Jodie Williams decided to step off the corporate ladder and establish an agency providing integrated marketing services with a focus on measurable results. 

Having held senior roles client-side, Jodie and Jenny’s in-house experience made them uniquely able to understand their customers’ drivers, having been in their shoes. In the past 18 months The Pod has won four awards including gold for Best Business Communication at the CIPR PRide Awards in both 2014 and 2015.