Creating a Long Term Marketing Action Plan
Most companies develop action plans for what they consider the nuts-and-bolts part of their business, including production, sales, distribution, etc. It’s surprising how few companies automatically throw marketing into that mix. This is particularly true when it comes to small or mid-sized companies. Many entrepreneurs and business owners think of marketing as an extra, an afterthought, something to focus on when there is extra money to spend on incidentals. The truth is that for a company to be successful (first and foremost) marketing matters. It is a business essential. The question should never be if a company should market, but how.
The good news is that businesses now have more options than ever. It used to be that direct marketing, traditional advertising and PR, were the holy trinity in marketing. Along with some basic grassroots guerrilla approaches, those three were considered the only viable options. The internet has changed everything. The new marketing arsenal now includes social media, blogging, email marketing, article marketing, pay-per-click, video marketing, Adwords… the list goes on.
But this does not mean that there is now an either/or approach to marketing. The correct question is not: should a company launch a traditional public relations campaign or a social media campaign? Rather, how does a company effectively meld a PR campaign with a social media, blogging approach?
To launch an effective campaign, a business first needs to develop a clear message, create a strong brand and define its target market. The next step is to develop a strong marketing approach and marketing plan. The plan needs to be a living breathing, fluid approach that can shift and change as the market changes. Each business has different needs. But a plan is a necessity.
Write out your short term and long term goals. Define your target market. Study where and how your market and customer base finds their information. Now take some time and develop a strategic plan. Review your budget, study the various outlets. An affordable approach that works for just about any company is a combination of traditional PR, blogging, social media and article marketing. Study each approach independently, then take a look at combining them. With some thought you can develop a long term marketing plan, a promotional blueprint that will work as a roadmap to build and grow your business.