Any business that implements a clear marketing plan will dramatically increase their chances of profitably selling more of their services. It should also stop businesses wasting time on ad-hoc marketing initiatives that do not support the overall business objectives.

Why do I need a marketing plan?

If you have a service that you want to tell people about, in a more effective way at the lowest cost to the business, you need to plan the activities that support that objective.

Before drafting your plan here are some useful things to consider:

  • How frequently do other businesses market their products and services to you?
  • Is their message clear?
  • Has the communication made you feel differently about your situation?
  • What were the hooks that made you read on?
  • Has your marketing activity changed over time or are you doing what you have always done?

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There are a number of simple steps a business needs to go through in order to build their plan:

Establish the desired result – the objective must be “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable and Timed). Furthermore it needs to be clear and easy to understand.

What’s it Worth? – calculate the value of your desired result, as this will allow you to establish the required budget and resources to achieve it

What are the consequences? -this is the business case for investment in the plan. Identify the positive outcomes that will be achieved through successful execution and the negative consequences of not proceeding or failing

Set realistic target – have a reasonable expectation as to what customers you can target and support. The better you know the answer to this the more likely you are to do business with them.

What do your target clients currently think and do and how might you change that? – thinking always precedes doing and understanding. Your activity needs to ensure your target audience feels they cannot stay as they are and they are inspired to change, by working with you.

What is the story? – what is your message? Write down what is on offer and create a motivating and compelling script. When I have asked adviser firms to deliver their proposition to me in an elevator pitch, many of them have not been able to articulate clearly and concisely what’s on offer. Can you sum up in 2 minutes exactly what it is you do?

What’s the benefit? – what clients’ love is what your service will do for them. What are the problems you are solving and what is your added value over the other choices open to them.

Know yourself – who are you? – people buy from people. You need to understand the different characters and personalities in your team and make sure these human qualities form part of your approach.

How will you talk to your targets? – one size does not fit all. Your approach needs to reflect the different preferences and circumstances of your target audience.

Measure it - I remember in a previous life a Finance Director always used to tell me, what gets measured gets managed and whilst I hate to admit it, he was right. Understand what good looks like so that you can measure success.

So what should you do from here.

Write down your first 10 actions. Prioritise them and set a date to deliver. Keep your plan relevant and simple.

A good marketing plan will drive your business and its messages into the market and this is what will make your business grow. With no plan to grow demand for your services you are putting your future at risk.