4 key Marketing Planning questions that will focus your business
To really excel as a Marketing Consultant we encourage you to go beyond the basics of marketing planning and deeply consider the answers to the following questions to help you focus on core marketing drivers that will make a difference in your business.
The answers will be specific to your business, so use the following list as a guide to focus your thinking:
1. Who exactly are your best prospective customers, and do you have a clear profile of them?
Marketing is becoming more and more personalised. To connect with prospects and clients in a personalised way you need to gather data to help you understand their behaviours. Where and when are they most likely to be open to engaging with your business? What are their problems? What are the tipping points for them? What matters to them, and what promotes or obstructs their actions?
To say your market is all small businesses that need marketing is far too general. I’m betting you don’t have the time or money to capture and engage with such a broad market. Therefore we highly recommend you get focused on a core niche.
Once you know who your niche is, put yourself in their shoes. Developing a detailed visual profile of your ideal clients and describe everything about them. The more detail you can provide, the more likely you will be able to communicate with them as, when and how they need it. Include demographic, behavioural and psychographic descriptors at minimum.
Find out more and download a free tool: How to Profile a Target Market
2. What are the 4 key marketing activities that will help you fill your sales pipeline?
Consider your product/service lifecycle stage:
Image Source: www.marketing91.com/product-life-cycle/
The first two stages focus predominantly on lead generation marketing strategies. While stage three requires lead generation, referral and nurturing strategies. Stage four calls for referral marketing and customer nurturing and extension strategies, and stage five requires specific strategies to suit your business objectives, whether that be exiting the business, entering new markets, introducing new products or services… you get the picture.
Depending on which stage your business is in, there will be 3-4 key marketing strategies that will help you keep your sales pipeline full. Concentrate on those only. The ultimate aim is to create a balance between push marketing and pull marketing strategies so you are approaching unique prospects (push) as well as attracting warm prospects to come to you (pull).
Understanding your Target Market intimately will help you decide which strategies and medias to use to connect with them at the right time and in the right place.
3. What is your current position in the market, and where do you want to be 12 months from now?
This question needs to be answered in measurable and specific terms so you can chunk your targets into monthly and weekly marketing and business development goals.
Defending your position as the market leader requires different marketing strategies to offensive growth strategies engaged by those looking to become the leader in the market.
|Defensive Marketing Strategies||Offensive Marketing Strategies|
|Loyalty programme||Referral programme|
|Maintaining brand positioning and credibility||Establishing brand positioning and credibility with strong points of difference|
|Nurturing existing customers||Lead generation from a variety of sources (online, offline…)|
|Product/Service development||No risk trials|
|Mine your data and personalise||Nurturing prospects to increase conversion|
|Research: connect with your customers and understand their likes/dislikes||Nurturing customers to increase loyalty and likelihood of referrals|
|Loyalty pricing strategies||Introductory pricing strategies|
Here’s an interesting article on Telstra vs Optus at the time of deregulation which discusses a defensive strategy case study.
4. How will you measure results?
Ask this question for every marketing tactic and campaign you engage in. Accurate measurement could require the use of dedicated phone numbers, a CRM system or simply a process to ask where the enquiry came from. The investment will be worth it. If you’re using landing pages, you should be able to easily track clicks and conversions.
Our Marketing Consulting business saved a client over $150,000 in advertising that wasn’t working for them. Before advising them to stop we needed to be certain it was under performing. We measured each advertisement by using an individual phone number and reviewed the results each month for six months. The results were irrefutable. The advertising was stopped, the marketing budget was better utilised and some went straight to the bottom line. That’s the power of measurement.