Completing Your Marketing Plan
Jackie Jarvis is the Director of Marketingco, a marketing consultancy which she created to make it easier for small businesses to get results from their marketing efforts. Her aim is to facilitate the 'thinking businesses need to do' before taking their products to market, as well as the thinking they need to do when they do. Jackie regularly speaks at networking events, runs a series of workshops, and writes articles for local business publications. She is based in Wallingford, Oxon.
- 72Setting your sales and marketing goals
- 73Developing a budget
- 74Planning your strategy
- 75Writing the plan
your small business
72 Setting your sales and marketing goals
What is a goal?
A goal is a written statement of intent. It represents an important target that you are aiming for. Your sales and marketing goals will include financial goals such as revenue, profit and income and non-financial goals such as products sold, new customers acquired, contracts signed, articles published, talks delivered, leads generated.
There is more commitment behind a written goal than there is with one which remains as a thought in your head. The level of commitment you make to each goal influences the energy needed to make it happen.
Why are goals important?
Knowing the mountain you are climbing, and what you want the view to be like when you get to the top, is important to think about before you start to prepare for the trip. Having a destination to go for creates direction and focus.
Clear sales and marketing goals that both you and your team create and commit to are a vital step to a successful marketing plan.
Your challenge will be to make sure that the goals which you create are SMART. SMART is a simple way of creating goals that are meaningful to you. Your goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. If they are woolly, unachievable and completely irrelevant to your vision for the future then it is pointless creating them in the first place. So your first challenge will be to make sure that your goals pass the SMART test.
How to make your goals SMART
- What is the goal/target specifically?
- Write it as if you have already achieved it.
- How will you know you have achieved your goal?
- What will have happened or be happening?
- How will you measure the results?
You will need to have something tangible that proves your results.
- Is this goal something that is within your own or your team's capability?
- What resources do you have/need to make it happen?
- Do you believe that is it possible?
- How is this goal relevant to your vision for your business?
- When do you want to achieve it by?
- When can it be achieved?
SETTING YOUR OWN SALES AND MARKETING GOALS – SPECIAL RESPONSE CHECKLIST
- Look back over your business vision.
- Remind yourself of some of the things you want to achieve with your marketing.
- Create some broad sales and marketing goals to give you some direction and focus to start with.
- Now break these broad areas down into some key areas – sales revenue, generating new customers, building business with existing customers, profile building, website marketing.
- Consider the sales and marketing goals you have for each section.
- Write them down – are they SMART?
- Can you break any of them down into specific targets?
Put these goals to the SMART test
- To reach a total revenue of £250,000 by the end of the next financial year.
- To achieve a profit level of 70%.
- Ten new customers spending £3,000 per annum by December 2007.
- Five new customers spending £300 per month.
- To retain 75% of our existing customer base.
- To increase the spend of 50% of our existing customer base by 10%.
- To build our profile within x area by achieving five publications regularly publishing our articles.
- To achieve three new poster and billboard sites.
- To create an opportunity to appear on local TV or radio during 2007.
- To complete our new site by x date.
- To set up a Google advert campaign by x date.
- To complete our search engine submission package by x date.
- To research quality links for our site by x date.
- To achieve ten quality website links.
How to use this information
Once you have set your goals you will need to create a process for ensuring that they stay at the forefront of both your own and your team's mind. You may have them displayed in your office and talked about and reviewed at meetings. You will need to do whatever it takes to keep the focus. A goal will not miraculously happen as a result of creating it in the first place. It is like a seed – to grow it needs to be fed and watered. You will need to take appropriate action to make it happen.
73 Developing a budget
What is a budget?
A budget is the amount you estimate spending on your business marketing over a defined period of time. A budget is the amount required to support the resources you will need to achieve the goals you have set. Your budget must balance with your estimated sales revenue figures. It must be an amount that assists in moving your business forward but doesn't bankrupt you in the process. Your marketing budget may be one of many budgets that you set for your business.
Why is it important?
Having a budget will ensure that you keep on track with the marketing activities that you have planned. Having carefully analysed what the best methods to market your business are, and set some clearly defined goals, you will have created the basis from which you can create your budget. Having a budget will make you stop and think when you get offered new marketing opportunities during the course of the year. You may find yourself having to decline to some late-space advertising because it does not fit into your budget. It will make you more careful and discerning when it comes to making decisions about how you spend your money. This is a good thing, as a lot of money can be wasted with ill-planned, haphazard marketing activities.
Your biggest challenge will be in accurately setting your budget and then sticking to it. You will need to spend some time working out what resources you will need to make your goals happen. Creating a budget is not about picking a random figure and sticking with it, nor is it as simple as working out what you spent last year and adding 10% for good measure.
How to create a marketing budget
Your budget can be created in several ways depending on how exact you want to be. You can estimate, or work out an exact figure.
How to estimate
If you have been in business for over a year and have been tracking your marketing-related expenditure then you will be able to calculate how much it costs you to acquire one new customer, or costs to sell one product. All you need to do is total up how much you have spent and how many new customers you have acquired or how many units of your product you have sold. Once you have these two figures, simply divide expenditure by either new customers or units sold. This will give you the cost to acquire one customer or sell one unit.
Now take the goals you have set for customer acquisition or unit sales target and multiply them by the unit cost of acquisition. This will give you a rough estimate of what you may need to invest to achieve your goals for next year.
How to work out an exact figure
This will involve some research on your part. You will have to work out exactly what resources you will need to achieve your sales and marketing goals and what these resources are likely to cost you.
Your list may include all the marketing methods you have decided have the best chance of giving you the greatest return.
Once you have an exact figure you will need to compare it with the revenue that you are planning to achieve over the next 12 months. Your marketing budget should end up as a realistic percentage of the amount you hope to bring into the business.
Marketing is a business expense that whilst being tax deductible still must be set up to bring in a measurable return.
DEVELOPING YOUR BUDGET – SPECIAL RESPONSE CHECKLIST
- Which marketing methods have you chosen to implement?
- What is it going to cost to utilise your chosen marketing methods?
- What resources are going to be required to implement these methods?
- What will you need to invest in each segment to achieve your goals?
- What return would you expect?
- How will you measure the return on your investment?
How to use this information
If you haven’t set a budget before, then this may be this the time to start. If you have, then perhaps there are ways in which you could improve the process you use. What should you be spending? This is a question that many people ask when they are new to marketing their business. The answer depends very much on what you are planning to achieve and the best route to that. If your marketing spend brings you a good return, then it is an investment not simply expenditure. The more you gain, the more you will be comfortable spending.
74 Planning your strategy
What is a strategy?
Your strategy is a description of exactly how you plan to achieve each goal you have set. It is your route map to the end result you have committed to. Your strategy is how you are going to make it happen.
Why is having one important?
Setting time aside to create a strategy will ensure that you think about and plan your way forward. If you do not do this all you will have is a set of goals and no methodology.
Allowing yourself time to work on your business as opposed to in it is your challenge. There will always be something urgent and important to do. Strategy planning is a non-urgent but vitally important task that you must allocate the time to do. You will need to stop doing, start thinking and planning.
How to create a strategy
You will need a strategy for each of your marketing goals.
YOUR STRATEGY – SPECIAL RESPONSE CHECKLIST
The following questions will help you to plan your own strategy.
- How are you going to progress each element of your plan?
- What is the critical path for each of the goals you have set?
- What are the milestones and deadlines?
- What are the steps?
- What needs setting up?
- What are the priorities?
- What specific practical actions need to betaken to make it happen?
- By whom and by when?
- How will you monitor, evaluate and review your strategy?
How to use this information
Take time out to plan your marketing strategy. Involve your team in its creation. Remember, people support that which they help to create.
75 Writing the marketing plan
To complete your marketing plan you will need to refer to any notes you may have made as you worked through the individual sections of this book.*
Why is it important to have a written plan?
This is your opportunity to bring together all the thoughts and ideas you have had about your business marketing. Writing this plan will force you to clarify and articulate these thoughts. Your plan will tell a story about your business and be evidence of all the careful thought you have put into it. You will be able to use this plan to stay focused and on track. Writing a plan creates something tangible that you have committed to. It will be your success blueprint.
Your plan template
The important headings for your marketing plan can be found on page 8 of this book.
How to use this information
Take this template and write each section for your business. The relevant chapters in this book will explain exactly what you need to consider. When it is completed it will need to be reviewed and fine tuned. This is not a plan that is cast in stone, it will need to be fluid – moving and adapting to the way your business and your market grows and develops. Your marketing plan gives you the structure, and your strategy, once implemented, gives you the feedback.