Why a Marketing Plan Matters – Even for the Smallest Business
Even if you consider yourself the smallest of specialty retailers, you will benefit from putting together a 52 week marketing plan. You do not need to allocate a huge amount of money to this budget: 3-5% of gross revenue will buy you ample coverage in your local area—and perhaps beyond.
Why you need a comprehensive marketing plan
Consumers are bombarded with advertising impressions all day, every day. They may be obvious, like TV or radio ads, or as subtle as membership drive gifts on your local public radio statio. That’s why the experts believe it takes 3-7 touch points with your message before it sticks with consumers. And varying how and when people see your message over time is the key to capturing their attention. You are buying a customer’s share of mind—and they won’t give you their attention unless they are ready to receive your message.
You will want to try out different methods of reaching your customers to see what works. That requires testing different methods—or the same methods over time. But you must track the amount of business each method brings in. Keep the good ones, ditch the weaker ones.
If you are ad hoc about your marketing plan (or forgo one completely), you will not be able to track its results. A spreadsheet is your best friend in helping you track and plan for the year so you have it ‘at a glance’ and at your fingertips. Investing a bit of time in a simple spreadsheet that shows you, line by line, what you plan to spend throughout the year (and the results as they happen) is an investment in next year’s marketing plan, too. You won’t remember what you spent from year to year and how it paid off unless it’s captured in a document. Tracking is just plain necessary. Would you pay for health insurance and then never check to see if your claims were covered? If you pay for something, you want to see how well it works.
Most media (online & off), prefer to fill ad space earlier rather than later. Sure, you might get a good price on ‘remnant’ ads. But you will be under the gun to get your artwork completed; the ad placement may be less than ideal or may not be available at all. If, instead, you secure placements across the year with local newspaper or website targeting your local area, you may get a discount for booking early and with multiple placements. As we already mentioned, you can’t just run the ad once and expect optimal results.
Learn more about print vs. online advertising next week on Tuesday the 21st.
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