Creating a local business marketing plan can seem a daunting prospect. The idea of spending hours researching the market, identifying potential customers and competition then crafting a plan can fill many with dread. Even with the best intentions to put that plan in place the day job always seems to get in the way.
In reality, creating a local business marketing plan can take less than two hours and, when finished can often be condensed onto two sides of A4 paper. That is not to say the long established strategic marketing process is invalid but for a small businesses a top level approach will often suffice.
What Do I Deliver
It may seem trivial at first but it is important to consider what fundamental service the business offers. Remember the old saying ‘we don’t sell half inch drills, we sell half inch holes’ and really think what basic customer need the business satisfies.
What Customers Should We Target
With the basic customer need established it should be possible to identify customers, or better still, groups of customers to target. It may be that different groups have slightly different requirements which can mean different variants of the product or service are required.
To try to sell to everyone dissipates resources which any small business can ill afford. It is important to therefore clearly identify specific market segments to attack and target products or services specifically at those segments.
Who Else Satisfies That Need
When you really look at who satisfies the same need (those half inch holes) you can really come across some surprises. Those you thought were competitors may not actually be competitors at all and those you really need to worry about may come into sharp focus.
Why Should Customers Buy From Me
This is the really difficult one but also the most important question to answer. Be honest with yourself, evaluate your existing customers and really dig deep into why they buy from you and not the competition.
Assess The Options And Make A Choice
Any good strategic analysis and planning process will throw up a number of key issues to consider. There are always choices to be made, often some hard choices to walk away from a particular group of customers or piece of business.
Build some scenarios, if we do ‘X’ and ‘Y’ then what happens to ‘Z’, consider each scenario in detail and make some decisions.
How Do I Get Myself Known
Only after a decision has been made on the way forward is it appropriate to consider the promotional options open to the business. Consider, who are my customers, where do they look for suppliers and make purchasing decisions and how do I reach them. Only with this information in place is it possible to build an appropriate local business marketing plan.
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