A Marketing Plan for Today's Marketplace

The message you need to get out there isn't in a neat little tweet of 140 characters, and people don't refer you if they don't know you. So to grow you need to increase customers, equipment, staff and possibly space. You also need to grow your marketing base. Today, a 6-step marketing plan gets you started because times are changing!

When you have 100% ownership in your business, you have 100% of the ability to define success for your business. You also have the clear responsibility of doing what it takes to get there. So how do YOU define success? What do you need to HAVE to get there? What do you need to DO to get there? How much risk will you need to assess to get there? These questions should be answered before engaging a marketing team or a marketing department. For year's we've heard that Content is King! And the Internet has propagated that fact repeatedly over the last 15 years.

Now it's 2010 and the convergence of different types of marketing is a growing trend - all based around content. But the message you need to get out there isn't in a neat little tweet of 140 characters, and people don't refer you if they don't know you, if there's no relationship. So let's say that success to you means 200% growth in the next 5 years. To grow you need to increase customers, equipment, staff and possibly space. You also need to grow your marketing base. We've heard for a couple of years that traditional advertising is a thing of the past. It used to be that you outspent your competitors to gain market share.

The companies with the deepest pockets had the best known brand. That trend changes more each day. Today, your reputation is critical more than ever, and no amount of spending will remove a customer's bad taste (just ask BP!). Today you need to spend more time on relationships, more time on content, and more time than money basically. For many of us, time is more important than money. Time to do what we want, time with family, time for fun, time for rest, relaxation, exercise, hobbies, time for work, time for play... so what's the best way to make the best use of your time? In a word... STRATEGIC PLANNING.Chess-Set-300x121 In order to create a strategic Marketing Plan for today's marketplace, you need to start with the basics and those are your brand (reputation) and your website. These are the two most important elements of building a profitable campaign that's always looking at the end result - your success (and however you've measured that).

Step 1: Discovery Identify the value of your brand, its effectiveness, its consistency, its differentiation, and its general reputation level. What are the goals for your brand? Are you meeting them? Identify the value of your website. Your website should connect, impel, and generate. Does your website contain accurate, up-to-date content that is consistent with your brand? Are call-to-actions clear, easy to use, and everywhere they need to be? Are you getting leads from your website? If not, contacting a marketing-based, graphic and website design company should be the place you start.

Step 2: Set Objectives Since we've established you control what success is, the only way to get to that result is to set goals and objectives that clearly define the path. The ultimate goal is to build your brand and increase traffic and conversions on your website because, that momentum is what will drive you toward your success goal.

Step 3: Create Campaigns The campaigns you create will all be designed to reach the objectives set in step 2 with the ultimate goal of enhancing step 1. These campaigns may include search engine optimization and search engine marketing, social media, networking, content building (blogs and articles), event marketing, and publicity. The success of each strategy creates momentum that drives your organization forward.

Step 4: Set Budgets Budgeting time and money is critical to success. Make sure you leave room for moving either from task to task as you work the campaigns so you spend time and money on the marketing areas that are working the best. In other words, if your Facebook fans are hot on a subject, engaged and interacting, don't be rigid and say... "time to work on the blog". Keep your audience engaged where they are, and be flexible.

Step 5: Measure You have goals, you have budgets, you have campaign ideas. Now you have to set the times you'll measure, evaluate and update your plan.

Step 6: Devil's in the Details Here's where it gets sticky. Inspired 2 Design recommends creating a full year strategic marketing calendar for businesses. This is a detailed plan, by month or by quarter. It includes all the above, specific details. What event, what keyword, what blog entry, what Tweet, and the task assignments, responsible parties, time allotments etc. This 6-Step Marketing for 2010 Outline is critical to success (whatever that means to you and your business). For help getting a plan on paper, contact Inspired 2 Design at 770-781-3452.