The classic saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”, is never more poignant than in small business marketing. Remarkably, over half of small businesses don’t have a formal marketing plan or marketing budget. Additionally, many business owners don’t know where to start.
Mediastead creates many assets, online and off-line, to promote your business, but absent of a plan most of those assets are of little value. We understand that advertising, sales programs and public relations are only effective long-term if used within the context of a well implemented marketing plan.
Core Components of Solid Strategic Marketing Plans
The core components of a marketing strategy are fairly simple:
- Budget – Advertising, production, salespeople salaries, promotional products and discounts
- Calendar – timing is everything.
- Audience – clearly defined customer base
- Message – clearly defined calls to action
- Media – the vehicle on which your message is transported
- ROI – revenue dollars returned for marketing dollars spent
The Mediastead team understands that a good plan, however, is much more than a bullet list.
Marketing budget based on revenue – Companies with growth in mind also need an evolving marketing budget and marketing strategy. We encourage companies to create a budget based on a percentage of total revenue or a percentage of profit margin. As your company grows, we can accurately predict marketing investment and gauge long-term return on that investment.
Magic is in the mix – In marketing, everything works. In marketing, nothing works. There are literally hundreds of marketing actions your company can take, and almost all of them will generate some degree of success. Conversely, no single action works in a vacuum, at least not for very long. Your marketing mix is a collection of actions that in concert create the magic, and fine-tuning creates long-term success.
Advertising versus Sales versus PR – Marketing is a three-pronged fork. Very few companies are strong in all three areas. At Mediastead we encourage focus in one of four marketing disciplines:
- Online advertising and social media
- Traditional advertising
- Sales team and sales support
- Public relations or media relations
Certainly your company should dabble in all four areas, but focusing heavily on one of these four will separate you from the competition. Your company should strive for excellence in one discipline and aptitude in the other three.
Asset library – Marketing collateral takes many forms. Websites, printed material, signage, promotional products, videos, sales presentations and demos work well together with high continuity. Additionally, because most of us don’t have unlimited funds, building an asset library gradually is far more effective. You want a continually evolving library of support materials.
“The List”– Your target audience has two critical components; well-defined demographics and a distinct methodology for reaching that demographic. The List, as we call it, could be a postal, telephone, or email list of potential customers. It could also be a list of physical locations for signage, a list of media outlets for PR campaigns, or a key account list for your salespeople. This list is likely your most valuable intangible asset. Mediastead can help you define the list and create a plan to grow it.
Return on Investment – Accurately tracking and measuring ROI over time is the most overlooked yet critical component of business success. Mediastead are experts in data and analytics. There is a huge difference between “thinking” your marketing is working and proving it.