Building your marketing strategy. Is this something you have to hand, or are you winging it as you go along?
If you are not a natural at planning, picture this for one moment. Imagine what it would feel like if you had clarity in your business and you were always on top of your game? Crushing your goals seamlessly and overcoming obstacles in your way. Being crystal clear about what you are going to do, why you are going to do it, how you are going to do it and by when as opposed to ‘winging’ your way to success.
To do this, you need to have a plan. Without a plan you become reactive to your circumstances, rather than proactive, bouncing from one situation and opportunity to another. Whether you call it a business strategy, a marketing strategy, a plan or a road map, it doesn’t really matter.
Your plan should be a working document, with a clear vision, purpose, goals and timelines that you can use to make your decisions and to guide you and your team from a marketing perspective, across your retail and online channels, your stockists and retail partners, from a social media perspective across each month of the year. Your plan should support and elevate your product development.
Your plan is a document and a direction that you all believe in and agree to, that you don’t allow excuses and unplanned events to stand in your way. I tend to refer to this form of planning as a marketing strategy. It is your marketing strategy, plan and budget that drives your sales and builds your brand. As a product based business, your new product development and your new product launches are very closely linked to your marketing strategy.
* Your marketing strategy is your overall plan for the year, every year you will review the previous year’s performance, see what has and what hasn’t worked and create a new marketing strategy for the year to support your product development and your new product launches. This is prepared in the last quarter of each year. At this time of the year you will have a clear idea of how the current year has progressed and what you have and haven’t been able to achieve.
* To create this plan, you need to understand your marketplace, your competitors and your customers and then based on analysing this come up with a plan of action in terms of how you are going to compete and position yourself as a brand in your marketplace and communicate this message to your customers. Marketing is a competition, it is about knowing what you stand for, and promoting this to people who need what you want and are willing to buy this from you.
* Your plan will be broken down into goals, objectives, tactics with a cost associated with each. It will take into consideration your product development and key event activity. To support your plan, you will then create your budget and your marketing calendar by month across your various channels, retail partners, advertising, PR, trade shows, events, videos, podcasts. A content marketing calendar is also developed by channel to support your marketing plan for the year.
* As you roll out your brand across retail channels and into different markets, you will need to provide this to your agents and distributors and to your retail partners together with very clear brand guidelines, sales targets, and your marketing collateral for them to execute.
You may now appreciate why having a plan can provide you with a clear steer in moving forward with building your business. If you haven’t started planning your year yet, good luck and if the idea of sailing as opposed to drifting sounds a bit more appealing to you this year, and you are looking for support in achieving this, get in touch.
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