Every small business that has a business plan should have a marketing plan inside it. Laura Dirk's & Sally Daniels' book Marketing Without Mystery outlines some great steps when thinking about how you are going to get your product or service to market. As small business accountants we often get asked about marketing and we certainly aren't experts in that department but we do look to see if any of our clients have covered off the following basic steps.
Figure 1: Don Draper from Mad Men - now that was a sensational agency.
1. Background & Objectives
Write down a brief statement of what your company's history and what it provides. List down the reasons why you are writing this marketing plan and what period it will cover. Set specific goals of what you the plan to achieve so you can measure its success along the way.
List your vision statement as to what you will provide your customers and team members during this period of this marketing plan. If necessary get help from your small business advisors.
2. Who Are Your Likely Buyers?
Provide yourself a brief description of which companies will buy from you and the needs that your product or service will satisfy.
Figure 2: Mad Men - great show whose team knew how to find clients and keep them!
3. Who Is Your Competition & How Do They Go?
List down you direct and indirect competitors and make an honest assessment on where they are in the market in terms of perception and how well they perform.
Have a think about how direct and indirect competition will react to your plans. Always be at least one step ahead!
4. What Promotional PLans Do You Have?
How exactly are you going to promote your company product and services? Will you use in-house staff or will you hire a great PR firm? Will you use a database or will you outsource this?
If you are going to advertise, it's better to go with the best advertising agency you can find. A great client makes a great agency, not the other way around. Make sure you be part of their brainstorming sessions and give them your business plan and marketing plans. To help you effectively, they need to be able to see the whole picture.
With selling, make contact relentlessly and follow up until they buy or die. Consider telemarketing but like agencies check out who they do work for and ask for testimonials or referees. Will you be selling at conferences or trade shows? What digital marketing strategies do you have?
Figure 3: Don Draper - now his advertising agency was sensational!
If you want a great marketing plan make sure you follow these basic points. Business valuers will no doubt assess your marketing when they decide to mark up or mark down your small business valuation. Be order makers not order takers. Go out and find it.
Do not wait for people to come to you.
This has been my one golden rule that has allowed us to grow our own business successfully and is a common trait of every small business.