Guest Post by Danielle of InsieMama
You've started a business, now what? You need a marketing plan. A solid marketing plan is essential for growing your business. It's the difference between surviving in business and being a thriving entrepreneur.
I'm Danielle and I've been a corporate Marketing Strategist for 15 years. One of the mandatory aspects of a marketer’s job is marketing planning, however some in the corporate world see the process as a boring template filling exercise. In reality, it's an incredible opportunity to develop focus and inject inspiration into a small business!
A strong, well thought out plan can help you:
Identify where to allocate your resources
Ensure you deliver against the strategic objectives for your business
Choose, prioritize and focus on the ripest areas of opportunity
Identify what you are trying to achieve and how to achieve it
Set realistic and measurable expectations
Marketing Planning = The Secret Sauce!
Simply put, marketing planning is the “secret sauce” that gets you from strategy to action. It helps you to make choices so that you can win with your business.
Ready to create your marketing plan? Follow these five steps and you'll be on the path to accelerated business growth!
The 5 Key Steps for a Winning Marketing Plan:
1. Positioning /
This first step answers the question “Where to play?” I highly recommend reading Roger Martin’s “Playing to Win” if you are interested in a deeper understanding of positioning strategy. In this step you must identify who your ideal consumer is and dig deep beneath the surface here. Your positioning should clearly outline your vision for your business or, as I like to ask my clients, “What does winning look like?” I also go a step further and ask clients to quantify success. What is the overall business objective that would deliver the win? Positioning also includes your brand. For example, what does your brand stand for? What is your brand personality and values?
2. Situation Analysis /
A thorough situation analysis is essential for laying the foundation for an impactful plan. Spending time on this stage will make the planning process much easier. There are many ways that you can do this, but personally I appreciate the simplicity of a good SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunity, and threats) tool. When examining your strengths and weaknesses, focus on the internal aspects of your business. The opportunity and threats portion should concentrate on the external. If you are struggling with completing a SWOT, ask for help from a fellow entrepreneur, your customers or someone close to you that sees your business in action. I always suggest to clients to have at least one person provide input for the SWOT, as they often see your business differently.
3. Goal Setting /
The input for goal setting is the output of stage 2, and I recommend getting down all the possible goals and then making the hard choice of your top 3. Choices are tough here, but choices must be made. These top 3 should genuinely move your business forward, should deliver your overall business objective and should always be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely). My approach to goal setting is that it also should include behavioral and attitude change. I find that clients struggle here to clearly articulate goals, so here’s an example of what I mean:
Get millennial moms concerned with the impact of chemicals on their family, to swap their grocery purchased bathroom cleaning products, for our homemade options, by convincing them that our non toxic cleaners can be as effective in cleaning soap scum and lime scale as the chemical options, but without the potential “nasties”.
The above example takes time to construct and a very clear consumer understanding; however can you imagine the focus that having three clearly articulated goals like this could give you?
4. Action Planning /
This is the part that all of my clients love, as they get to brainstorm the activities to deliver against the goals! If my client likes structure I like to use a framework like the 4Ps (product, price, packaging and placement) to help structure their creativity. If a structured approach is not helping, we often brainstorm together and really push ourselves to be creative! This usually involves a ton of post-it notes and candy!
5. Evaluation /
It’s essential that once you have made the choices on which actions your will implement to set measurements. How can you know if you are being successful if you don’t set measurements? These can be metrics like numbers of downloads of an opt-in or a financial measurement. It doesn’t have to be complicated… In fact simplicity is my preferred route, however a metric must be set! Evaluation is also about ensuring that you learn and refine along the way. This will guide you on what needs to change and what you need to continue or do more of.
Let’s Get Started!
I would love to hear your feedback on your experiences of implementing the following the five steps I’ve outlined above. If you need additional guidance or a plan created for you, check out InsieMama for my online resources and customized marketing plans. Happy planning entrepreneurs!
Danielle founded InsieMama to bring world-class marketing skills, learned over 15 years building brands in the corporate world, to help grow small business. She motivates clients to continually raise themselves, and their businesses, to a higher standard of performance through targeted marketing consultancy tools, processes and sessions. Danielle is a Military spouse with two small boys and has lived all across the world. She brings this Global experience to her clients through best-practice marketing. When she is not building small businesses or spending time with family, she is an avid yogi and runner.
You can connect with Danielle on Instagram @insiemama, facebook, or via InsieMama.