What is a Marketing Plan Anyway?

Building a business that grows steadily in size and profits is like building your dream house. First, you identify what kind of home you want, then you and your architect plan and create blueprints for your house, then you'd build it, move in and enjoy it.

Now imagine that you didn't have the time to plan your home but went ahead and hired a builder to get started. How would he know what to build? Without a plan, the result would be unlikely to meet your needs and you'd have wasted a lot of time and money.

Everyday I get calls from frustrated owners of small businesses. Their marketing isn't helping them generate a steady stream of new clients or bring in the revenue that they think they should be making.

My conversation with Ken, from Toronto, was typical. I asked Ken to describe his business and his business goals. I asked him to tell me about his target market and what he is doing to market his business.

He easily described his technological and design expertise, his Web services and the ads and mailings he was using to promote his business. Then I asked the question that stumps almost everyone who calls me for advice: I asked Ken if he had a marketing plan and what it was. He didn't have one.

Do you?

You know what your goals are and where you want to take your business. You also know that marketing involves activities such as building a web site, mailings, advertising and phone calls to prospects. But without a plan tying these efforts together, these activities by themselves may do little to help you achieve your goals.

You need a well thought out blueprint for your marketing, just as you would for your dream home.

Here's how to start putting your marketing plan together.

1. Identify Your Marketing Goals

What specifically does your marketing need to achieve for your business to grow? You can state this in terms of the number of qualified leads generated each week, the percentage of leads converted to s.ales, total revenue, and profit.

What are your marketing goals?

2. Define Your Marketing Strategy

This is your overall approach and positioning relative to your goals and your competition. My marketing strategy is an educational one. It is based on giving people ideas and information they can use as a means of getting their attention and demonstrating the value I provide.

What is your marketing strategy?

3. Set Up Your Marketing System

Develop a plan of action. To increase sales, your marketing activities and the media you use need to reflect your marketing strategy and work together as one.

I use articles and pay-per-click ads to get people to my web site, a free marketing guide to generate contacts, forms to generate leads, and follow up with autoresponders, my ezine and phone calls. Each individual activity supports and works in harmony with the others to bring me a lot of business.

What is your marketing system?

4. Map Out Your Marketing Activities

Now flesh out the details. You've decided what your marketing activities will be; now for each marketing activity you'll need to determine who will create and implement it and when.

Who will be responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining your marketing?

5. Sharpen Your Marketing Tools

Each marketing activity involves using one or more marketing tools. These include everything from your web site to your phone scripts to your marketing messages. To cut through the information clutter and get your prospect's attention you'll want finely honed tools.

Could you sharpen your marketing tools?

Plan your marketing like you would your dream home. The time you spend developing a marketing plan - your blueprints - based on your business goals, a clear strategy, and a coordinated system will pay off.

Use your marketing plan in conjunction with a set of sharp marketing tools. You'll be building your client base and profits in no time at all.

2005 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.

The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals, small business owners and marketing professionals attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up to receive the Free Marketing Strategy eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business' at marketingforsuccess.com">http://www.< a href="http://portalus.ru/modules/economics/rus_readme.php">marketingforsuccess.com

What is a Marketing Plan Anyway?

Building a business that grows steadily in size and profits is like building your dream... Read More

Creating Assets: Spark Your Thinking With These 16 Comprehensive Questions

Here are some questions to get your thoughts and cash flow moving that will also... Read More

Four Simple Ways to Cut Your Trade Show Marketing Budget in Half

Many times when a trade show is planned for there isn't someone who watches the... Read More

Non-Aggressive Marketing Ideas for Enterpreneurs

Do you cringe at the thought of trying to promote your business ? Does it... Read More

Basic Marketing Dope

Sometimes the simplest data is the best. Marketing is not complex if you know the... Read More

Ten Crucial Questions

Ten Crucial Questions for Your Business Future I'm a business coach. I've worked... Read More

Direct Mail

Do you have a website? A Web Newsletter? A mailing list of e-mail addresses for... Read More

Create A Business Card That Sells and is Effective

Why does your business need a business card?Business card is a powerful piece of card... Read More

Practice Marketing: How to Answer What Do You Do? to Increase Prospects, Publicity and Profits

"What do you do?""I'm a CPA. What do you do?""I'm a stockbroker."End of conversation.And the... Read More

How Much Is Your Popcorn Worth? Powerful Lessons In Marketing & The Psychology Of Selling ? Part 6

How Much Is Your Popcorn Worth?: Powerful Lessons In Marketing & The Psychology Of Selling... Read More

Motivate Your Market Force

IntroWant me to tell you something on how you can motivate your market force in... Read More

Secret Marketing Plan

Many people have asked me what was the secret to our market domination? Hello, my... Read More

Nurture Sales Leads with Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail is a cost-effective way to make sales and generate leads. But it's also... Read More

Psychology of Setting Prices

Pricing is one of the four major components of marketing. Psychological pricing forms one... Read More

Adapting Blog Technologies To Corporate E-Newsletters

Every January, trade publications put out a list of predictions for the coming... Read More

Database Marketing: Secrets To Skyrocket Your Online Profits Using Database Marketing

What is database marketing?Database Marketing is the gathering and storing of specific... Read More

Who is Your Perfect Client

When I started my coaching practice I believed that I could coach anyone. My ... Read More

Fundamental Strategic Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

This is a pretty tough global economy and it is critical for a company to... Read More

Direct Mail Postcard Rules

It's a fact that your customers are your best leads. This means that the most... Read More

Business Cards that Make Them CALL

How would you use business cards for gift certificates?I asked at the beginning of this... Read More

Down To The Wire

When you want to win and woo new clients with national publicity -- and don't... Read More

Unique Selling Proposition - Your Competitive Advantage!

To capture a larger market share and be viable, sustainable and profitable, you absolutely need... Read More

6 Simple Ways to Determine Which Marketing Ideas Are Best for Your Business

Did something catch your eye in a direct mailing this past week? Have you recently... Read More

Top 7 Tips for New Businesses

The marketing decisions you make for your new business are the most important part... Read More

Meaning and Marketing - The Hurricane

I step outside my back door and look at some large limbs lying on the... Read More

Image is Key to Your Marketing Success

In virtually any business first impressions are lasting impressions. Most people have heard this statement... Read More

Ten Ways to Market Your Business by Doing What You Love To Do

Most business owners get so involved in the work of the business that there never... Read More

Building Skills in Information Marketing will Boost Your Business

Yesterday I was sitting on a train going into London when I thought I'd take... Read More

Mail Orders Most Common Mistakes

THE GREAT MAIL ORDER MYTH There are a number of totally unrealistic beliefs about the... Read More

Create Your Own Rumors

A consultant new in the city asked me how I managed to get business so... Read More

8 Instant Ways to Create Consistently Successful Marketing Campaigns

It's almost a given that when I speak to a new client, she tells me... Read More

Growing Your Brand Assets

Okay. Raise your hand if you think brand management is just for BIG companies (like... Read More

How To Bond With Customers So That They Stay With You Longer

How many of your customers are loyal customers? More importantly do you know why they... Read More

Package Your Products for Thunder Thigh Women - Big Butts Too

Wake up women (and you men too). I think we are seeing light at the... Read More

How to Run a Successful News Release Program

Marketing public relations gives you cost effective ways to reach your audience. The trade-off, however,... Read More

Brainstorming Techniques as New Product Development Strategies

When developing new products and strategies, coming up with unique ideas is often a struggle.... Read More

4 Ways to Get a Prospects Attention Fast

Can you remember the last dozen advertising messages beamed at you today? Can you remember... Read More

Rising Postal Rates? Don?t Cut Down the Direct Mail

The United States Post Office in the past had some trouble with its finances and... Read More

4 Sales Strategies with Your Trade Show Exhibition Booth

Trade show booths can act as an excellent source for generating sales enquiries in the... Read More

7 Proven Tips To Market Your Cleaning Business

Marketing your cleaning business is something that you will already have an idea about when... Read More

What IS the Difference Between Marketing and Sales?

There seems to be a never ending argument among marketing and sales professionals as... Read More

Dear Friend: Dont Start Your Non-For-Profit Fundraising Letters As A Stranger

Dear Friend:Don't do it.Don't start your fundraising letters with "Dear Friend."After all, when was the... Read More

Did Jesus Get Killed for Practicing Interruption Marketing?

I'm reading Seth Godin's Permission Marketing and he brings up the difference between Interruption Marketing... Read More

Developing the Unique Selling Proposition

The "Unique Selling Proposition" advertising campaign was developed by Reeves in 1961. Reeves proposed that... Read More

Low-Cost Marketing With Postcards

Here's a simple way you can generate lots of sales leads ...or traffic to your... Read More

Are Corporate Awards and Corporate Gifts Beneficial for Your Business?

With the increased challenges that all companies are faced with, many corporations have implemented various... Read More

The Power of a Survey

How many times have you been asked to participate in a survey? If you are... Read More

Marketing With Business Cards

Many businesses today overlook the importance of business cards as a very powerful marketing... Read More

Educating Your Customers

One of the biggest marketing mistakes businesses make today is failing to educate their... Read More

Why Market to Generation X?

Generation X"--the 40 million or so people born between 1965 and 1976--understands it is living... Read More