A lot of people are at a loss when it comes to deciding how to approach the marketing plan process and how to stay within time and budget constraints. To make for a less stressful marketing plan process, keep these 7 tips in mind:
Think Strategy First
An overall marketing strategy drives many decisions. If you first identify general goals, choosing appropriate marketing programs for a small business plan becomes much easier.
Putting together a general outline and deciding how you will publish the plan can help you better visualize steps you need to take. Examples are (a) a full, detailed report including Executive Summary, the plan itself, and back-up data, (b) a single summary sheet, or (c) something in between. Size and structure of the small business can help determine the scope of the plan.
Set Aside Time
A good, strategic marketing plan requires a certain amount of analysis. Early stages in the process go smoother with minimal interruptions. Make it easier for those working on the plan to concentrate by setting aside “closed” time during early planning stages. In a busy, small business environment, this can be accomplished by working during off hours or putting aside a short time – 30 minutes to an hour – each day.
New, creative ideas flow more freely when people are not inhibited by preconceptions. Hold a brainstorming session, with two rules: (a) there are no bad ideas and (b) everyone’s ideas carry equal weight.
Shorten The List
Implementation suffers severely when there is an overload of marketing projects, especially in small businesses with a small or one-person marketing department.. The list of potential projects generated in the brainstorming session canshorten by concentrating on those likely to be the most profitable and those that take advantage of the company’s internal strengths.
Make The Plan Flexible
Business does not operate in a vacuum, so your plan needn’t exist in one. For example, the business environment may change during the year or additional marketing opportunities may arise. Building in flexibility to adjust throughout the year can avoid the pitfall of continuing down an unproductive path.
Have Measurements In Place
Knowing if and how well a program works can help you identify opportunities for improvement. In your marketing plan or in back-up documents, set explicit goals and measurements.
Business doesn’t work in a vacuum, so your arrangement shouldn’t for a second need to exist in one. For instance, the business climate might change during the year or extra showcasing open doors might emerge.