Marketing Using Common Sense Part Two - Planning and Review

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It is useful to have a working plan to keep you on the right track.
Plans often frighten people, but all a plan really is, is a checklist of defined activities and expected outcomes.
And let's face it, we plan for most things in out lives including holidays, birthdays, so why would you not plan for something as important as your business? Your plan should set out what you want to achieve for your business, ie.
Your objectives, your overall way you will go about achieving these objectives (your strategy), and your day to day activities you will do within your strategy.
Within this you will need to think about how much it will cost to do things the way you wish to do them, and how much you expect to make as a result of these activities.
Finally, you should build in a way of assessing how well you are doing, what activities work best for your business and what don't work as well.
Your working plan should be updated regularly.
When you have a clear understanding of your market you can identify clear Objectives for your business.
Objectives spell out what is it you are trying to achieve.
This is really important- if you aren't clear about this how on earth are you going to develop a successful business? Define your objectives carefully.
Remember to keep your objectives SMART: S(specific)M(measurable)A(achievable)R (realistic)T(timebound) and make sure that you don't set yourself up for a fall.
Then plan your business Strategy.
What do you need to do in order to achieve these business objectives (from a marketing perspective)? You will need to ask yourselfmore questions.
How do you make sure that your customers know you exist? 2.
How do you get them to think it's worth contacting you? 3.
How do you persuade them to buy? 4.
How do you keep hold of your customers to get them to buy more? (remember pareto) 5.
How do you find new customers? The answers to these questions is where creative, clever marketing comes into it's own.
This is where you can really start to think about how you are going to hook your customers, how you are going to make them spend their money with you- and how you are going to keep them coming back.
The largest part of your plan will probably be your day to day activity plan.
This should include what you will do to make your strategy come to life.
What channels you will use to communicate with your customers.
How often you will communicate.
You may have a schedule of activity timed to key events for your customers (for example seasons, festivals, public sector budget calendars).
Resources needed to carry out these activities, and the costs of resources and activities should also be included and updated as they change.
Finally Review.
I believe that it is important to think carefully about how to assess if your marketing activity is working.
Regularly review your plans- are you making enough money? Are you inline with your objectives, or are you over - or under achieving.
Review what is successful.
If you do more of this could you be even more successful? If so, can you meet the demand, or could you end up overstretching and developing unsatisfied customers- or worse- overtrading and going bust? 4.
If you are under-achieving- were your objectives too ambitious? What is it you are doing wrong? Is your message getting through? Are your customers contacting you but just not buying? You need to know why things are not working out- so FIND OUT.
Adapt and evolve the plan to ensure that stay in business by giving your customers what they want The MacInnes Partnership website is a source of useful marketing and business information for both established and start up businesses.

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