Dec 19, 2014

2015 Marketing Plan task fifteen

This task is easy. Just write down your strategies for your 2015 Marketing Plan. They don’t have to be beautifully written, they just have to be written. (There’s HUGE power in writing them as often as you can.)

This week you’ve done the heavy lifting. Congratulations! As small business owners, you’ll find that creating tactics is much, much easier and that’s what we’ll do to round out our plan next week. Then I’ll help you wrap it up into a nice bow!

If you’re playing catch up, here’s a recap of what we did in tasks 11-15.

Day 11: Defining the “What” to Do.  Strategy is a murky, mercurial topic for those of us with the guts to run a small business or consultancy. Here we think about the definition of strategy and perhaps peruse some possible new strategies. We also look at the differences between strategy and tactic.

Day 12: Chewing the Cud  Like a cow, you need to chew on things when it comes to strategy. Look at the strategies you used in 2014 and rank them. Throw out the bad ones, and commit to the good ones you didn’t quite have time to implement.

Day 13: Be Like Patton. Violently execute your plan and you’ll do well, just like Patton said. Think about new strategies for 2015 with a focus on what will reach your best customer. And don’t forget about content marketing. On the battlefield of marketing, Content is the General!

Day 14: Marketing is not Rocket Science. Think about the strategies you want to implement and ask yourself some hard questions. If it’s too much thinking, watch something funny. But remember, this isn’t really that hard.

So how are you doing with your 2015 Marketing Plan so far? Are you struggling to keep up, or are you breezing through these tasks? Are you finding 15 minutes is a realistic amount of time to set aside each day? Have any questions? The comment section is all yours, so fire away – either on these weekly recap posts (each Friday) or on the individual days. Or if you prefer to reach me via e-mail or Twitter (@waxgirl333), I’m listening there, too.

Next week your present will be a nicely wrapped marketing plan.

Dec 18, 2014

2014 Marketing Plan task fourteen

(AP Photo/Charles Sykes, file)

(AP Photo/Charles Sykes, file)

I’ll bet you thought I forgot to write up today’s task. Actually I did. I was too preoccupied this morning watching Stephen Colbert’s crackup montage. Seriously I love that man with his one little  elf ear.

Okay back to reality. Today we think about our new strategies for the 2015 Marketing Plan. You should have two new ones, and some good ‘uns from last year you’ll do again. Remember these are STRATEGIES not tactics. If you could give one of your strategies to a friend and they could go out and execute it without asking more detail, it’s a tactic. Even if they did it really badly like my friends would. If you’re still confused, remember that strategy is your bridge to your overall goal. Tactics are the “hows” for that bridge.

Another note. Take a look at your strategies and test them with two questions:

1. Do they help you reach your overall goal?

2. Do they help you reach your best customers?

If the answer is yes to both, think a tiny bit about what you’ll need for those strategies. Make an educated guess. You’re smarter than you think you are in this stuff. Marketing is not rocket science.

Now, ask yourself these questions and write down the answers.

1. What kind of budget will you need?

2. What kind of human resources will you need?

3. Is there specific timing associated with this? (For example, if your strategy will help pump up a slow summer season, or if you’re going to try to speak all over the place in  the spring, etc.)

4. Are there any major obstacles to the strategy?

That’s it, you’re done. Now watch Colbert. PS it has naughty bits.

Dec 17, 2014

2014 Marketing Plan task thirteen

Thirteen may be your lucky number because today you’re going to choose TWO new strategies to implement in your 2015 Marketing Plan. Remember that you ranked your existing strategies and reviewed possible strategies already this week.

Best. Movie. Ever

Best. Movie. Ever

George Patton said that ”A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”  That means don’t over think this one. Choose a couple of simple strategies and commit to them. They can be as basic as “Choose networking events where I can meet influencers of my business.” I will tell you one thing though. A 2015 marketing plan without at least a tiny bit of content marketing is incomplete. Even if it’s as simple as curating articles you like in your social media networks, you should have some content marketing to be complete.

Think back to your best customer. Consider the strategies that appealed most to you. Where is the intersection between those appealing strategies and the ones you think will best reach your customer. That’s where those two new strategies lie. Write them down. You can have three if you want.

Strategy can be hard. As me questions.

Dec 16, 2014

2015 Marketing Plan task twelve

Strategies are hard. Don’t worry if you feel like you really didn’t “get” yesterday’s task. Or maybe you came up with too many ideas. Either way it’s okay. Strategies are supposed to be the “thinking” part of marketing. So it’s important to chew them over. Just like cud. Some you spit out. Some you digest. I promise not to take the analogy any farther.

Today I want you to think about strategies that you use currently and rate them from 1-5. 1 means they’re terrible and you will never do them again. (Like the time I paid to be on a panel where a woman actually sang our bios.) 5 means they bring in amazing results. Remember, strategies are not actionable. Yours might be like these:

- print advertising
- direct sales
- networking events
- social media
- content marketing
- local public relations

Consultants tend to write beautiful marketing strategies like this :

Attract moms age 30-35 via online public relations campaign featuring pitches and alerts pegged to celebrity news.

You don’t need to get that fancy. Make your list and keep chewing.1317226737_cow_chewing


Dec 15, 2014

2015 Marketing Plan task eleven

You’re halfway there. First, we needed to figure out WHAT to do in the 2015 Marketing Plan. The rest of the plan is geared toward HOW to do it. And you have to start with strategy. So today is more about thinking and pondering than anything else. And no joking this time…I’m very serious when I talk about strategy! Here’s why:

A lot of people can’t distinguish between a strategy and a tactic. But there’s a big difference and it’s an important one. Your strategies act as guides for your marketing activities, and they direct the tactics you choose. Tactics are actionable and specific.  Without strategy, you feel like you’re just jumping from one marketing task to the next, and results seem hit or miss. With a good strategy in place, you can select tactics that align with your overall strategy. If the tactics don’t work as well as you want, you can change them up or tweak them.

Defining your best customer as you’ve just done is part of choosing your strategy. Defining the channels you’ll use is another part of creating your strategy. Now it’s time to think about how you’ve promoted and sold your products and services in the past. Are there new ways you think you can reach out to your best customer? Did you identify some channels last week that might be new avenues to reach that customer? Have you always wanted to try a different marketing approach? Now is the time to write those ideas down and ask yourself, “If I do these, will I meet more of my best customers?” Maybe it’s a new event or webinar you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe, like me, you’ve always wanted to do a series of blog posts. Write them down.

You may be thinking right now that you’re not a marketing person and there’s no way you can come up with new strategies. I love that Cult Branding developed a list of 52 Marketing Strategies because believe it or not, I run out of ideas too. Read that post and pull a few that resonate with you. If you’ve got more time, has created a great list of strategies and links to more information on each one. It’s a little older so the digital strategies may not be up to date, but it’s an excellent glossary of information.


Dec 12, 2014

2015 Marketing Plan task number ten

WOO HOO!  You’re halfway done with your plan! Don’t worry if this week’s steps seemed odd, next week things will all start coming together.

Okay, here’s a definition for you.

Those lists from the past couple days? In integrated marketing, those are all called “messaging channels.” Now you have some hip lingo with which to impress your friends. (Maybe not?)

4192570059_a981b6e2d6_zFor this task in the 2015 Marketing Plan, I just want you to look at your lists from this week. Compare the “channels” you hit up in 2014 with the ones your best customers and desired best customers use. See anything interesting? Are you spending money on ads where none of your best customers get their information? Are there any channels (online ads, for example) you’re missing?

Write down any new channels that seem like good fits for next year. That’s it, all done!

If you’re playing catch up, here’s a recap of what we did in steps 6-10.

Day 6: Getting to Know You. Or more to the point, getting to know your best customer. Using a series of demographic and psychographic questions, you identified your best customer – the type of customer who’s most loyal, spends the most, refers the most, etc. You may have also identified your “next best” customer, too, if you were feeling ambitious!

Day 7: Hello, Dreamboat! In step 7 you fantasized about your absolute dream, ideal customer. If you already have that customer (your current best customer), lucky you – this was an easy task. If you don’t quite have that customer yet, then you took some time identifying him/her with another set of questions that gave you plenty of insight, but stopped you just short of stalking…

Day 8: Hide and Seek. Day 8 presented the first worksheet, with which you could identify the types of places your best and dream customers get their information. It may be Facebook or Twitter. It may be print newspapers. It may be plain old honest to goodness postal mail. Most likely it’s a combination of many different places, but step 8 was all about thinking where and how to find your customers in the most impactful way.

Day 9: Googling Yourself Isn’t as Naughty as it Sounds. In step 9 you thought about all the places you advetised, earned media placement, shared content, etc. throughout the past year. Just for good measure, you Googled your brand to make sure you didn’t miss anything. With or without the safe search filter…

Day 10: Ding Ding Ding. Step 10 is when some bells should have started ringing as the pieces you set up over the week began to fall into place. First you took a look at your notes from day 8 and reminded yourself about the places your best and dream customers get their information. Then you looked at your results from day 9 and compared your exposure to the places your best and dream customers are hanging out. Are you missing your customers entirely, or are you perfectly on the mark?

So how are you doing with your 2015 Marketing Plan so far? Are you struggling to keep up, or are you breezing through these tasks? Are you finding 15 minutes is a realistic amount of time to set aside each day? Have any questions? The comment section is all yours, so fire away – either on these weekly recap posts (each Friday) or on the individual days. Or if you prefer to reach me via e-mail or Twitter (@waxgirl333), I’m listening there, too.

Next week we really kick it into high gear, so rest up this weekend. See you Monday!

Dec 11, 2014

2015 Marketing Plan task number nine

2015 marketing planAccording to Feng Shui, nine is the most powerful number of all. (Just a random number factoid to spice it up a little.)

Today’s 2015 Marketing Plan task is really easy. Write down all the places you advertised, gained PR coverage or placed your own content or stories in the past year. You can use a fresh version of yesterday’s checklist, if you like.

It might be a good idea to Google yourself or your brand right now in case you missed something. We just found an awesome Tumblr review for a client that we had no idea we got for her.

Dec 10, 2014

2015 Marketing Plan task number eight

By now you should have a pretty good idea of the profile of your best customer, and your desired best customer.  If you’re following along with this crash course you probably aren’t the type of person who has a lot of time for market research or the budget to create a complex digital or traditional ad strategy. Don’t worry.  There are only two things you need to know to create the strategies and tactics for your 2015 Marketing Plan (we start those next week, so relax).

1. Where do your customers get their information?

2. What kind of messages do they respond to?

#2 is something that is an ongoing task for you and you’ll be working on that throughout the year. Therefore, the last tidbit we need to gather is #1.

All I want you to do right now is consider your 1) best and 2) desired best customer. If you can, try to numerically prioritize their information sources (in other words, do they use Facebook, Twitter, do they like to read print papers, etc.). If not, just put an X next to the three you think are their PRIMARY sources of information. To get a better handle on this, start with yourself and narrow it down to your top three. Then think of those two sets of customers (or one if you’re already happy with your customer base) and do the same.  (more…)

Dec 9, 2014

2015 Marketing Plan task number seven

Who is your dreamboat customer?

Who is your dreamboat customer?

I want you to close your eyes and think about this dreamboat customer. Are they super rich? Would they buy over and over and rave about your brand everywhere? What would their persona be like? How about their buying behavior?

Okay, now answer the same questions from yesterday for this love-of-your-life. If you seriously, honestly, already have that customer, you’re done for today!

Here are the questions again, slightly adjusted:

  • Man or woman?
  • Education?
  • If B2B, how big is their company?
  • If B2B, what role do they play at the organization?
  • Exact age?
  • How will you meet them?
  • How fast will they buy?
  • How much information do they need before they buy?
  • Where do they conduct the transaction? (In your store, online, on the phone if you’re a consultant, etc.)
  • What is their average purchase per year?
Dec 8, 2014

2015 Marketing Plan task number six

Today we think about our best (and next best!) customer in a different way. Most of the time your customers are defined by typical demographics like age, gender, their profession, income, etc. You may have started to define them geographically or by ethnicity, too. But really, the best way to define your best customer is to combine those demographics with more information about what they do, how they think and most importantly, how they buy. In other words, what is their behavior?

Your best customers are the customers who are loyal to you, who buy frequently and refer others to you. Take a minute to answer the following questions in terms of what you know about your best customers. Don’t get too analytical about it. We just want a quick, current understanding so we can apply the knowledge to your growing 2015 Marketing Plan.

  • What is the male to female ratio – best guess? 
  • What is their average education?
  • If B2B, how big is their company?
  • If B2B, what role do they play at the organization?
  • Can you specify an age range at 10 years or less? (In other words, 30-40, 40-50, etc.)
  • How are they normally introduced to you?
  • How long is the average time between when they first engage with your company or brand, and when they buy?
  • How much information do they need before they buy?
  • Where do they conduct the transaction? (In your store, online, on the phone if you’re a consultant, etc.)
  • What is your average sale?

Now, is there a “next best” customer? Answer those questions again. But don’t take a long time, ok?

Great! Now you’re ready for tomorrow’s task. Stay tuned.

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