Strategic planning FOCUS
Strategic planning for marketing is a powerful way to focus your organization’s resources on goals to support growth, enable success in the current year, and provide staying power well into the future. Marketing is an essential part of the strategic plan that a successful business needs.There are at least nine key areas to focus on for making marketing assessments of objectives, as well as breakdowns of areas to be developed. I will review a few of them, and if you’re interested in the complete list, please contact me.
- Set clear, measurable sales goals. Include how many revenue dollars and customers it takes to achieve your goals and create personas of those new customers. Review your actual sales from last year and be sure to account for inflation, increases in fixed expenses like health insurance and retirement contributions, and client attrition. Goals should be aggressive, yet realistic.
- Assess your current clients. It’s a powerful practice to find the biggest and smallest spenders. Rate them by whether or not they are likely to accept new products or services from your company. “Fire” clients without potential — Firing can be over the course of months if needed. Creating client personas is a very effective assessment strategy because these personas can be your actual favorite clients–what they buy, how they decide to buy, and other relevant psychological details.
- Assess your target groups to increase sales. Are there identifiable demographics, such as age, gender, and income? Also consider their psychographics, which include the situations and reasons your target groups purchase your product or service. Use your client personas to project the target groups as well.
- Review your products to find the best and worst sellers, along with their margins. Clarify your offers and innovate where possible. Get client and prospect comments and update your best products to maintain your marginal utility. Delete products that aren’t performing a strategic purpose.
- Research your competitions’ offers and prices. Your competition never sleeps and it’s essential to maintain an assessment of their promotions to understand where you fit in the end user’s mind. It’s also helpful to speculate about the size of the market — what portion your business controls and what portion your competitors control.
- Review your marketing from the previous year. Objectively assess where your sales came from to replicate success and test new channels. Notice what worked best: referrals, digital marketing like email and social media, or traditional marketing like TV, radio and postcards. It’s essential to make an allocation to marketing expenditure commensurate to your sales growth. So, if you need $100,000 in new sales and each new client brings in $10,000, and it costs $1,000 in marketing to get each new client, your allocation would be $10,000 in marketing for the coming year.
Strategic marketing planning is not a test or a final document that has to be right. Instead, think of it as a living document that focuses your thoughts and resources and supports the strategic direction of your business. It’s more effective to have a half-completed plan than to not have one at all. Take an hour and get started.