Techniques to Help you Plan

Throughout my career in the marketing, advertising, customer service and social service arenas, one thing sticks out foremost in my mind: the lack of advertising and marketing planning for businesses and non- profits alike.

I cannot count the times that I have seen intelligent and passionate people start a business or get behind a cause with the misconception that “if I build it, they will come.” People tend to be so enthusiastic about a product or service, they put a business plan in place without developing the strategic marketing and advertising component.

They are convinced that their product or service is so great that everyone will automatically want or need it. This very well may be true, but consumers need to know that a product or service is available in order to purchase it.

The business finally opens a storefront or starts offering services only to wonder why customers aren’t rushing through the doors. All of the funds have been poured into startup costs, and suddenly it’s realized that the business is just not doing as well as anticipated.

Something needs to be done.

Chances are the efforts won’t be as well executed as they could have been with a plan, and even if they are, it’s a short term solution for a long term problem.

If the advertising and/or marketing don’t bring immediate results, business owners may become skeptical about advertising and marketing and even go so far as to believe neither works.

They work, but they need to be well planned and executed. It’s important to carefully identify your goals, objectives, budget and potential customer base, including how you plan to reach those customers. Ideally this plan should be in place before you open your doors or start providing your service.

It takes foresight to carefully orchestrate a marketing and advertising plan and oftentimes people underestimate the importance of having all the pieces in place prior to opening their business or offering a service.

The second thing that sticks in my mind is that businesses commonly fail to execute their advertising and marketing plan, hard as it may be to believe.

Because of that, oftentimes there is a misperception that the plan is not working. The reality is that the plan isn’t being worked.

Marketing and advertising aren’t things you can just think about once in a while. There needs to be a clear vision, a clearly written plan and someone responsible and accountable for making it happen. There also needs to be flexibility in the plan as it will change with ever-evolving consumer trends and industry standards.

The third thing that sticks in my mind - and probably one of my biggest pet peeves - is that it’s important that new business owners realize a key factor regarding marketing and advertising.

Advertising and marketing are not expenses. They are an investment in business success.

A business doesn’t have to have the largest advertising and marketing budget in town to succeed, but you do need to have a plan and you need to follow the plan.

The planning process may seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of sources for help.

Some things you can do if you find yourself in need of a strategic marketing and adverting plan are as follow:

–Contact the Small Business Development Center in your area or visit www.sba.gov for more information. –Go to the local library and bone up on advertising and marketing plans. –Check the yellow pages, there are professionals who can assist. (Always check with previous clients for references of professionals you are considering hiring. Also, ask friends and colleagues who they recommend and why.)

And if you have a plan but aren’t working it:

–Hire a marketing professional to take on the task part-time or full-time. –Find a consultant to help you. –Make a commitment to review your marketing and advertising plans, at a minimum, monthly. –Consider this - it only takes a series of small steps to get where you want to be. Where are you going? What have you done to get there?

Lastly, if you don’t value your own business enough to plan for success and implement that plan, how do you suppose potential customers view your business?

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Manyon specializes in POWERFULLY communicating business messages to increase results. She is a professional copywriter and marketing strategist. Her work has been featured by the National Association of Women Writers, Absolute Write, Copywriting TNT, Lewiston Tribune and more. Manyon works directly with Lorrie Morgan–Ferrero as theRed Hot Communications GOLD Copywriting Mentorship Managing Director and is also the first professional copywriter in Idaho to earn Glazer –Kennedy’s Creating Copy That Sells certification. She developed a series of training seminars for the Idaho Small Business Development Center to assist businesses with image, planning, publicity and copywriting. Sign up for Manyon’s complimentary ezine and get savvy marketing insights delivered right to you inbox at zero cost to you. Here writeoncreative.com/blog/