Marketing is not Sales! Lets say you have an appliance store. All the activity that the owner does to get someone to walk through the door is marketing. What you do with that person when they are in your store is sales. You must have a marketing plan if you want to have a healthy business.
It is easy to become complacent when sales are good and you may even be straining to keep up with demand, but you can never take a break from marketing regardless of the size of your business. A marketing plan need not be an elaborate document that takes weeks or months to produce. A marketing plan can be brief and only for your use, but it should have the following elements:
- Market Research
- Target Market
- Product Specifications
- Mission Statement
- Market Strategy
- Define Measurable Success
Every business needs a marketing plan and a sales plan, but the marketing comes first. You will have no one to sell to if you don’t know your market. Many businessmen have no marketing plan and they may even be successful, but their success would be so much greater if they had a plan.
If you don’t have a marketing plan and you run any size business, you should spend 30 minutes and brain storm the 9 elements mentioned above. Write each element down and write a sentence or two next to each one. You need not share it with anyone, but you can if you like. This exercise is meant to get your mind energized about marketing your business. The act of writing down your thoughts will bring clarity and reality in what you should be doing versus what you are doing. This exercise doesn’t have to be done in your office or any special place. A bar stool and a cocktail napkin work just fine.
With any marketing plan, make certain you can measure the performance of whatever you plan to do. Dollars spent should be related to some goal. It may be sales leads, store visits, RFQ’s, inquiries or something that will have positive impact on sales.