The Three Pillars Of Marketing is something that I have developed to give you a basic understanding of how small business owners can approach marketing planning. The Three Pillars Of Marketing focuses on Plan, Prepare, Promote.
A formidable plan is so much more than just writing down what you’re going to do. A strong foundation is essential to attract the right customers. Moreover, you need to have your goals in clear focus, at all times. So many people prepare a plan and shove their plan in a draw. Have your goals on display because it will help you work towards everything that you want to achieve. The subconscious mind is very powerful. Seeing is believing. Believing leads to action. Action gets results!
You must know your market inside and out. This means, establishing current trends, industry predictions, competitor behaviour, and any other external influences that may impact your business. Where possible, try and find secondary research reports that contain accurate and current data trends. This will help to give you an understanding of things that may have a positive or negative impact on your business.
Another aspect of marketing planning that’s often forgotten is what’s going on internally within your business. Often, it’s easier for an external professional, like me, to review your business for you, or with you. Specifically because an external person will be able to identify elements of the business that needs addressing. Things that may otherwise have been overlooked. Sometimes, it’s easy to be so involved with your business that it’s difficult to take an alternative perspective. Having the right infrastructure in place is crucial, particularly if you’re planning for high growth. This is why an internal assessment is essential. If you don’t have the resources to bring in a professional, then get a suitable mentor. Failing that, at the very least do an assessment yourself. Identify gaps and put plans in place to fill them. Pay attention to potential opportunities and seize those opportunities.
Make sure you set a marketing budget too. If having an annual marketing budget isn’t optional, set a quarterly or monthly budget. Remember, though, you don’t always have to have a massive budget to get results. Particularly, if you plan correctly. Listen to how James Goulding, from Binary Plus Training, trebled his turnover without spending much money at all. The other thing to remember is that as you invest more time, energy, focus and money in your small business marketing, you can re-invest more of your future profits into marketing. There’s lots you can do without spending the earth. You will, however, need to invest time, though, so that you gain momentum with your marketing. Don’t fall into the trap of lacking consistency and developing Sporadic Marketing Syndrome.
Once you’ve got your plan and you know exactly what you need to do, prepare to take action. Make sure that your goals are achievable and timely and start preparing what needs to be done to achieve them. Take the pressure off yourself by preparing to breakdown your plans into quarterly, monthly, or weekly goals. Next, prepare to do something every day to get your business to where it needs to be.
Prepare your time and allocate specific time for marketing. This means, scheduling time in your diary for the tasks that you need to do to help you reach your business and marketing goals. It’s so easy to get bogged down with daily business that it’s easy to dismiss time for marketing as insignificant, or less important than other business tasks. It’s not! It’s vital to achieving marketing success, so if you don’t have the time to do it then delegate what you can, or outsource, if need be. If you don’t prepare then nothing will change. If nothing changes, in another twelve months, you’ll find yourself and your business are in the exact same position that you’re in now. Schedule timeslots in your diary and don’t cancel them. Preparing small chunks of time is better than nothing at all, so start small and build from there.
Prepare internally, too, by informing all relevant people about your new plans and how it may impact them. If you’ve got employees, let them prepare for any changes too. Loyal employees are likely to embrace your new marketing plans and it will be reassuring that you’re focusing on developing the business. Get them on board because this will really help your plans gain traction.
For many small business owners, when they think about marketing, they immediately think about how to promote their product or services. Stop right there! Don’t do it, unless of course you’ve already planned and prepared. Strategy is crucial! If you’ve planned correctly, you will know exactly what your marketing messages need to be. Furthermore, you’ll know exactly who you’re marketing to. You must know your customer to get your promotional activities right.
It’s not just what you say, it’s who you say it to that counts with effective marketing. If you’ve planned correctly, you will be fully armed with accurate and up-to-date information. You will have the right marketing messages. Moreover, you’ll have a suitable plan, and you will be certain of what you need to do to achieve your goals. Promoting your products and services is the final part of the puzzle, along with other elements of the marketing mix.
What To Do Now
When focusing on next steps and what to do now. Plan, Prepare, Promote!
There are more free resources available on this website for you, so if you want to know more about marketing strategy or other aspects of marketing and networking, have a look at the blogs or you can listen to my podcasts for more specific detail. The Be Better With Tracy Heatley podcast episodes available on all major podcasting platforms too.