Marketing Sense

A discussion of marketing tools and tactics with a common sense attitude

Archive for September, 2008

Mapping out your marketing planning.

Posted by Colin N. Clarke on September 17, 2008

By Colin N. Clarke – It never ceases to amaze me how often I hear business owners say “I just need a brochure” or a radio ad or some other quick “marketing tool.” Often I’ll ask, “How does this fit in your marketing plan?” And over the years I’ve received a mix of reactions. My questions aren’t meant to stifle opportunity, the questions are simply asking –  “Do you have a plan?” If you don’t, YOU NEED ONE. Here’s a process you can start with that will help you make sense of marketing planning.

1) Decide where you want to go. Give yourself something to aim at. How are you supposed to know you’ve reached success if you’ve never clearly stated what your destination is? This can be as simple or as detailed as you want to be – pick something to aim at. Increase business volume by 25% in the next year; Add a second location to my business in two years; Have people view my business as one of the best in the city. Pick a destination.

2) Decide how you want to get there. Look at the things that you are really good at which set you apart from other businesses. Let’s say your company offers some unique services, or you are very good with people. Use these things to your advantage by focusing on that unique offering or fostering strong business relationships. The idea here is that you are going to use the things you are good at to get to where you want to go.

3) Map the route. You’ve decided where to go and how best to get there, now map it out with checkpoints (key activities) along the way. Choose to highlight the unique offering through advertising tools or choose to use your good people skills to grow awareness by joining local networking organizations. The trick here is to map the route and stay on it! Now if someone offers you an opportunity you don’t think you can pass up, you can look at your map and see if the opportunity fits on your route. If it doesn’t fit, pass on by.

I like to make sense of the marketing planning process by equating it to traveling:1) Decide where you are going (Let’s say New York).   2) Decide how you want to get there (by car, bus, train or plane). 3) Map the route (the roads you will travel and where you will stop for fuel, food and sleep). No matter who you are, it takes these three steps to reach your travel destination – and it is the same way in business. Take the time to plan things out early and you won’t have to react to any last-minute marketing “opportunities” later.

To sum it up in simple, straight-forward marketing sense: “You might have the fastest horse in the race, but it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t know which direction the finish line is.” Now get on track and map out your marketing plan.


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