Q: As a small business owner preparing to re-open what should I be doing to evaluate and prepare past and future marketing activities?
In last week’s post, we discussed researching CDC guidelines for business in relation to COVID-19 and the importance of implementing corresponding policies and procedures.
Just as COVID-19 has elevated health and safety, specifically cleanliness, to the forefront of society and business operations, COVID-19 has impacted consumer spending habits and put great strain on the budgets of small business owners.
To ensure your business is receiving optimal return on investment from marketing expenditures during this time of varying consumer spending habits and stricter marketing budgets, it is crucial for small business owners to formally review and plan their marketing activities. To do so, a small business owner should work through the marketing plan development process. Depending on years of experience and type of business, some small business owners may have worked through this process previously, while others may have not. Regardless, a formal marketing plan should be reviewed and revised at minimum on an annual basis.
A marketing plan, typically part of a business plan, is the foundation for identifying your market, attracting prospects, converting them into customers, and retaining them as customers. While a marketing plan does not need to be long or expensive to develop, it must be carefully researched, thoughtfully considered, and evaluated for it to help your company set goals, implement strategies, and measure results. A good marketing plan sets clear, realistic and measurable objectives, includes deadlines, provides a budget, and allocates responsibilities.
A marketing plan consists of these common elements:
- Analysis of your current market
- Key marketing strategies in your business
- Steps to achieving your business objectives
- Proposed budget
- Scheduling of the marketing activities being undertaken.
For assistance developing a marketing plan, you can review the content on this site within the Blog page under the Sales and Marketing article categories and refer to discussions on developing a marketing plan and sample marketing plans like the resources provided below.
Once your business has developed a strategy of how to reach its market and implemented the plan, you should track each individual response received and trace it back to the marketing effort that generated the response and then adjust the marketing strategy appropriately and continue the process.
Marketing Plan Development:
Sample Marketing Plans: