A good marketing plan shouldn’t be brain surgery

I saw figures from NAB this week that said that just 5% of retail spending in Australia was done online last year. Does this mean that I just need to spend 5% of my time on my website?

 

Depends how effective your website is really. If you have a rubbish website you can spend 100% of your time on it and nothing will happen.

 

However, as a rule of thumb, I believe that all retailers need to spend about 20% of their time on marketing; and a percentage of that 20% will be on measuring, improving and growing your web offer. See what you think of this as a plan.

 

Tactical elements

 

Not every marketing activity will make sense for your business. Nor, for that matter, will you have sufficient funds to execute every available tactic in the marketing arsenal.

 

Select those programs that make the most sense in terms of meeting your budget requirements and being compatible with the style of your business. The list includes:

  • Print advertising, particularly niche publications
  • Low-cost broadcast advertising e.g. regional television, to support promotional events
  • Bag stuffers – changed weekly
  • Direct mail including catalogues and newsletters
  • Online activity including web marketing, e-commerce, social media and e-newsletters
  • Consumer expos
  • Promotional event sponsorships
  • Partnership marketing with non-competitive products and services that cater to the same marketplace
  • PR and media coverage
  • Community/not-for-profit involvement
  • Effective in-store merchandising
  • Yellow Pages advertising
  • Coupons

Budget, timetable and responsibilities

 

Lay out a 52-week program and schedule your activities according to what makes sense for your business, your marketplace, and your product or service. For example, this means identifying which weeks your advertising will run, when and where you will seek media coverage for an important event, on what dates you’ll drop your direct mail campaign, which months you’ll send out an email newsletter, or whatever activity you have planned for the annual calendar. But, be very specific as to date, cost and responsibility (who does the work, where does the buck stop).

 

Measurability and accountability

 

The biggest crime perpetuated by marketers is their inability or unwillingness to measure the results of their efforts. Don’t join the criminal class. Understand that every marketing dollar spent must be measured in terms of its ROI (return on investment).

 

If the program doesn’t pay-out, you need to know why, so that you don’t repeat the failure in subsequent years. Track information feverishly. Always ask customers how they heard about you. Track coupon redemptions religiously and calculate the sales revenue that can be attributed to the individual redemption. Ask your media representative to provide a post-buy analysis, i.e. how many people saw your advertisement. Always run advertising with a call-to-action, a coupon or other device that prompts the reader or listener to tear out a coupon, visit a web site, etc.

 

Good marketing planning is not brain surgery. It’s nothing more than understanding the basics, setting goals, establishing priorities and executing with discipline and appreciation of the value of marketing dollars and the need not to waste them.

 

And all of this should take about 20% of your time. You decide whether your online presence is worthy of 5% of your time or not. Will 5% time on your web offer generate more sales than 5% of your time on bag stuffers, for instance? If you increased the time you spent on your web offer, could you generate more sales, more activity? Or is the issue your offer?

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