If you developed a marketing plan for 2020, there’s a good chance you’re revising it right now
One of my clients is a small Oakland construction company. They started out the year with some terrific new commercial projects in their pipeline. In March, COVID brought these projects to a screeching halt. While the company started back to work a week ago, some of those projects have stalled indefinitely. Now we’re refocusing, looking for smaller projects that we can turn around quickly to generate cash flow. Our target is homeowners converting spare rooms, garages and attics into home offices to meet the demands of the new virtual workforce.
Another client is a complete sucker for ad salespeople
He’s a really busy guy, and getting on his calendar is a challenge. But somehow these ad folks not only get through to him, but they convince him that their exclusive deals, reaching thousands of households in his upscale demographic, are exactly how he should be spending his marketing dollars. These great deals are generally one-time offers and a complete waste of money.
This is why you need a marketing plan: One-off spends are really bad ideas
Whether it’s a print ad, pay-per-click (PPC) or direct mail, you need to be in this for the long haul. It’s relationship-building. If you’re doing PPC advertising on Facebook, Google or YouTube, you need to monitor your ads and make adjustments. Think carefully about how you define conversion. You need to able to track the effectiveness of your advertising. If it’s successful, include it in next year’s marketing budget, if not, cut your losses and move on. And my client? We’ve successfully circumvented these one-off ad spends because they weren’t in the marketing plan!
Smart business owners create detailed marketing plans, budgets and timelines every year so they know how much they’re spending, who’s responsible for executing each tactic. A plan will help identify your audience and the ROI of your marketing dollars. Even small businesses with limited budgets should be tracking their spend—and that includes pro-bono donations. A few hundred dollars here and there—these add up. Think instead about cause marketing—supporting one cause and becoming known for this. Team with another company to extend your resources.
In its simplest form, a marketing plan is a blueprint for your communication activities
A marketing plan is a detailed roadmap that outlines strategies, tactics, activities, costs and projected results over a period of time. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet or it can be detailed in a CRM system. It can include attachments. It’s the marketing actions you take to achieve the objectives that meet profit goals. It includes your website, newsletters, online marketing, new collateral development, branding, networking, etc. It’s a working document that changes as the economy and other external factors affect your business.