Effective marketing begins with the right strategy.
Before you commence marketing activities, you need a plan that outlines your vision for your business or organisation.
Once you know what you want to achieve, you need to put your marketing plan into action.
Identify required tasks
A marketing plan must be supported with an implementation schedule. Your schedule should identify the tasks, timing and resources you need to achieve the outcomes you have identified.
For example, if you had a vision of increasing repeat sales by 15%, then your implementation schedule needs to identify the actions to achieve this outcome.
Activities might include regular customer contact and providing excellent customer service.
Each of these activities needs a time frame, with specific tasks identified and allocated. Tasks needs to be broken down so that there is a systematic approach.
For example, an activity to deliver regular customer contact might include a periodic electronic newsletter. Content is required before a newsletter can be distributed and this needs to be considered when undertaking this task.
Clearly define your tasks
Excellent customer service needs to be defined. How will you provide a better level of service and how does this achieve your desired outcomes?
Tasks might include seeking feedback from customers through a survey. The survey will need to be distributed, and the results analysed. Once the survey has been undertaken, you will need to report on the findings to highlight the improvements that will be made.
Identified improvements, for example providing after-sales support, would require their own implementation schedule. Staff would need to be trained, new procedures outlined and customers made aware of these service improvements.
Set Realistic Goals and Resources
Marketing activities will need a budget and resources. It is important to clearly identify the outcomes you want to achieve, so you can measure the effectiveness of this allocation.
Marketing activities must to be undertaken using the resources you have available. Setting unrealistic goals, or not providing the right resources will diminish your ability to achieve the right outcomes.
For example, you could provide regular customer contact through monthly workshops. If you do not have the personnel or budget available to hold these workshops, then you will not be able to implement this activity or will fail to meet customer expectations.
How much to allocate to marketing will depend on the scope of your organisation, the competitive environment, the industry sector and the goals you wish to achieve. Several research studies indicate that a business will allocate between 5% and 10% of its revenue to marketing activities. These figures are a guide and can increase to 20% for new businesses seeking to establish themselves in the market.
Know who is responsible
Your implementation schedule needs to identify who is responsible for the required tasks.
A periodic newsletter is only useful if it is regularly dispatched. Failing to meet time frames for content will delay sending the newsletter, eroding the ability to communicate effectively.
Who is responsible for collating content and ensuring it is sent? The responsibilities should form key performance indicators (KPIs) that are used to report on outcomes and measure staff performance.
Time frames need to be realistic, but should motivate personnel to take action.
Your implementation schedule should identify the outcomes that are expected from each activity. Keeping track of results, enables you to measure the effectiveness of each task and make adjustments if required.
For example, if you are providing a regular newsletter, then you want to measure the number of times someone interacts with the content. How many people open the newsletter? How many of them click through on links? Do you receive feedback or is the content shared through social media?
Identify the anticipated outcomes and then evaluate against actual performance. If not enough readers are clicking through to content, then try running a competition or seeking feedback on the layout and what they would like to read.
Marketing needs to be measured to ensure that you are achieving the goals you have established.
Focus on Outcomes
Marketing involves focusing on outcomes. The actions and tasks you identify should work towards the outcomes you have set in the marketing plan.
The activities you undertake should support these outcomes, rather than undertaking tasks that have no clear objectives.
Success starts with strategy and this is followed by implementing the required activities and measuring impact.