What is Marketing?:
Marketing is the commercial process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods, or services, that will ultimately satisfy and hopefully delight a customer. Why is it important to have a marketing checklist?
Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or another, maybe even an idea. So why do such a high percentage of companies fail? Well in most cases, the problem lies not in the idea or service itself, but in the cultivation thereof.
Lets try and analize where most businesses go wrong:
Most small businesses don't have an effective marketing plan.
Successful businesses thrive because most people in the organization are aware of where the business is going. The business is as a result of one persons vision with the help of all employees or sub contractors, the company as a whole is dedicated to see that vision through.
A Marketing plan helps to achieve this kind of focus and when used effectively, it will ensure that the business is able to adapt to today's dynamic business environment and changing customer needs.
They tend to confuse Sales with Marketing.
One important fact to remember is that Sales is a direct byproduct of effective Marketing. The objective of sales is to increase revenue that the company generates by distributing products and services, none of which would be possible if the consumer of that product had no information on which to base their purchase. Although it is important not to confuse the two, Sales and Marketing tend to work hand-in-hand, ultimately driving sales.
“We don't need marketing, we're a small company”.
That should be that exact reason as to why a business does need to have a marketing process. No business owner wants to remain the same size forever and to just keep breaking even. But the only way of changing that is to be proactive, know what the market is, where its going and where you fit in.
A good place to start is to create a a SWOT Analysis. In a business context, the SWOT analysis enables organizations to identify both internal and external influences.
Need some inspiration? There are several SWOT images available to help
YOUR MARKETING PLAN:
Perhaps that's one of the primary reasons why franchises are so popular. They present a very detailed plan for just about every aspect of running a business. But if we are talking about internet marketing, its going to take some time and effort.
So, what do you really need for an effective internet marketing checklist?
Your plan (checklist) is a sort of road map to help you define and reach your goals. A good way to start your business plan is to think of where you want to end up, then start working backwards from there. What steps will you have to take? How much will you make? How will you make it? How much will you invest? What marketing methods will you use to promote your online business? Answering questions like these will help you make a good marketing checklist.
The questions you ask are important. Try to think of as many aspects of your business as you can. And when answering, be as detailed and specific as you can. In fact, if you find you are giving vague answers, take that as a sign that you need to give your marketing checklist more thought.
After you complete a SWOT Analysis, start on your Sales and Marketing Goals:
Remember that sales and marketing work together, but will have distinct and different plans.
You should also divide your plan into short, medium and long term goals. This will help you to stay on track as your business grows.
You should be ready to make revisions to your plan as needed, but don't make those changes lightly. However, your business is going to grow, and you won't be able to predict how things turn out with 100% accuracy. So you need to be able alter your plan if the situation warrants it. Remember, your business plan isn't written in stone and is there to work for you, not against you. The key is to continue to test and refine your marketing approach.
Your Marketing Checklist Should Include:
Step 1: SWOT Analysis
- Strengths (include your Unique Selling Proposition and Customer Perceptions and Brand Attributes)
Step 2: Sales Projections (long and short-term goals)
- Distribution methods (Direct or Indirect)
- Pricing Strategy
- Be Specific with the How
Step 3: Research: Who is Our Target Market?
- Demographics (age, gender, income, household stats, location, occupation)
- Persona (Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers. They help you understand your customers better.)
- Psychographics (Where do they hang out? What do they believe? Interests? Opinions? Values?)
Step 4: What are the Best Ways to Reach Our Target?
- Traditional Media (Radio, TV, Brochures, Catalogs, Packaging, Point of Sale, Direct Mail, Outdoor, Indoor, Trade Shows, Networking)
- Digital Media (Keyword strategy, Social Media, Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing)
Step 5: Sales Strategy (Budget, Methods, Timeline)
- How are you going to increase sales over time (increased sales from current clients, increase the number of new clients, increase the price, increase the offerings, etc.)
We're going to grow 10% over the next quarter is not a good sales projection. We're going to grow 10% over the next quarter by doing X, Y, and Z is much better.
Step 6: Analyis (ROI, Market Changes, Growth)
- How do different methods of marketing compare over time compared to sales. Make sure to factor in overall industry and market growth or decline.
Start with an Inbound Marketing Plan Checklist:
Since 2006, inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for doing business online. Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and paying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be.