Have you ever felt confused in your marketing? Kind of like there is a big, thick, cloud of confusion? Should you advertise here or there? Should you exhibit at this festival or that one? Do you participate in the direct mail campaign provided by your consortia? And the list of questions goes on and on.
The reason why you have confusion is that you haven’t established an integrated marketing plan for your business. And why would you have done that? NO ONE is showing you how. An integrated marketing plan is a multi-layered, strategic plan that is founded in your mission (brand message). Once in place, you no longer have endless questions about marketing, but instead answers are revealed.
So how does it work? It’s about putting the following 6 steps in place and then keep doing it. Marketing should be planned out in advance. Just because you might be a 1-person business, doesn’t mean you can’t have a strategic, integrated marketing plan in place at all times. Everyone can do this, no matter how small or big their business is. Your integrated marketing plan is something that can be flexible and fluid, but attention to it should happen ideally 4 times per year.
Here are the 6 steps:
Step 1: Establish Your Mission Statement
This is your business’ statement of values, purpose or vision. Apple’s mission statement is in its tag line: Think Different. Your mission statement is WHY your company exists. At GIFTE, we teach travel business owners to establish their core, compelling message. Your mission statement is the same thing. It’s a statement that identifies the solutions, benefits and dreams you deliver, to whom you deliver them to and why you do it.
Step 2: Identify the Problem/Opportunity
You are marketing your business for a reason. Why? Identify exactly why you want to put your business out there. Maybe your problem/opportunity is that your list is too small. Maybe it’s that you don’t have enough clients. Maybe you have lots of clients but not enough in a certain demographic. Maybe you have a great list of clients but they are not coming back to you for repeat business.
Step 3: Determine Goals
A goal is a conceptual, directional statement, rooted in your mission (message) that sketches how you intend to settle the problem/opportunity. For example, if your problem/opportunity was your list was too small, your goal might be to grow your list of a certain type of prospect. You might have a second goal to enhance the relationship with past clients.
Step 4: Determine Objectives
It might sound repetitive to determine objectives immediately after determining goals, but they are different. Objectives are measurable outcomes. A goal might state what a campaign will do while the objective will state what it will accomplish. Going back to the above example, if the goal is to grow the list of a certain type of prospect, then the objective is to grow the list by 200 names of a specific kind of prospect within the next 3 months.
Step 5: Establish Strategies
Your strategies are how you plan to accomplish your measurable outcomes. What marketing vehicles will you use, when, where and how? If growing your list of affluent brides by 200 names within the next 3 months is your objective, what strategies do you have in place to make that happen? Most likely your strategies will be multi-pronged. You are going to advertise your Irresistible Free Offer in a local Bride magazine, you are going to get interviewed on a local radio station where you will also repeatedly mention the IFO and you are going to exhibit at a high end bridal show next month.
Step 6: Outline Your Tactics
Your tactics are the specific tasks that must be accomplished to achieve a specific objective. They are the specifics of your plan. Another way to say it – your to-do list. A lot of people make the mistake of jumping to Step 5 and Step 6 with zero awareness of Steps 1-4. And when you do that, you feel very confused. You lack direction. Step 6 is one that many people are great at, but it’s an impotent step if you’ve skipped the first critical steps.
So now that you know how to implement a strategic, integrated marketing plan, are you going to do it? What do you have to lose? I promise it will feel great when you put your focus on it. Have fun with it!