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5 Steps to a Live Marketing Plan

5 Steps to a Live Marketing Plan.
By Stuart Ayling of Marketing Nous

[Includes free marketing planner schedule. See link below.]

It's true. Failure to plan is planning to fail.

When I'm talking with business owners and marketing people I'm often asked,

'How do I plan my marketing? There are so many details.'

My answer is to keep it simple. But focus on the important stuff.

To make it easier, I've broken down the planning process into five key steps.

1. Identify the source/s of revenue. I suggest you go back a step or two (in your thinking process) and consider the sources of revenue for your business. This helps you focus on who your potential clients are (such as demographics, psychographics, job description etc), and where they are located (such as size of business, geographic location etc).

2. Select suitable marketing tactics. You need to consider which marketing tactics are really going to make an impression. And importantly, which ones can fit into your available marketing budget. These decisions also need to take into account the communication objectives for your business.

For example, if potential clients need to be educated about a new process or service you are offering, you might consider using a 'staged' communication process. You could use email or direct mail as the first stage to get attention. Then follow it up with an offer of information (e.g. a white paper or case study) or a demonstration. The third stage would be to meet with all decision makers. This method moves prospects quickly into your sales process.

3. Plan your marketing tactics over the year. No matter whether you plan by the financial year or by the calendar year, plan your marketing in 12-month blocks. This enables you to manage your budget so you have enough to cover peak periods. It also allows you to see any major overlaps that will stretch your capabilities. This is especially the case for service businesses where much of the 'marketing' requires personal time to be spent by the service providers.

Get your free copy of my easy-to-use 12 month weekly marketing planner.
You can use it on your PC, or print it out and fill it in by hand. Click here to download (Excel file 20KB). Tip: For best results Right-Click link and select Save Target As... to save the file on your own computer.

4. Create an action plan for each marketing tactic. You must consider each tactic on your annual planner. For each tactic write down all the tasks needed to accomplish that goal, in chronological order. Estimate the time needed to do each task so you can plan ahead. Then decide who will do it, and when it is due. Voila! You're nearly there.

5. Start doing it. That's right. No high-tech solutions required. Just start actioning all the tasks, in the priority needed to meet your timeframes. Remember to monitor completion dates and outcomes.

If you follow these 5 simple steps you'll have a living, breathing marketing plan that will put you on the road to marketing success.

Stuart Ayling runs Marketing Nous, an Australasian marketing consultancy that specialises in marketing for service businesses. He helps clients to improve their marketing tactics, attract more clients, and increase revenue. For additional marketing resources, including Stuart's popular monthly newsletter, visit his web site at www.marketingnous.com.au
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