Do you actually need a marketing plan?

Perhaps we could look at this question from a different angle, would you start a business without a business marketing plan?

The answer is of course, no! But why should the approach to marketing be any different? You are going to be investing in marketing and if done correctly, marketing will deliver ROI to grow your client base, revenue and ultimately business. It is therefore a critical aspect of your go to market strategy and should be thought through and planned.

Do you appreciate the importance of marketing?

You would expect us to ask this question, we are a marketing agency, we feel that marketing is vital to business success. But let’s explore this question.

For your business to survive, and of course thrive in a market place you have to attract and retain your customers. But if your business never told the market what you offer, why you are better than your competitors, your ethics, why you exist etc, then would customers simply come to you? No doubt a small number may stumble across you, but it’s unlikely that you will attract the number of customers needed for your business to survive.

Marketing is not simply the expensive advertising campaign you see on TV or the brochure that will cost a lot to produce and may quickly become outdated. It’s likely that marketing will have an influence over every touchpoint that your customers experience; from your telephone message, your welcome email, that customer service call or a client portal login. The messaging, branding, look and feel are all influenced by marketing.

Why create a marketing plan?

A plan gives you the opportunity to really understand:

* Who you want to target, why and how you will reach them?

* It prompts you to assess your competitors, what activity are they doing, could you be doing something similar?

* And to dive into your product or service – put your customer hat on, why would you purchase your product or use your service, are the benefits clear?

All of these questions need to be thoroughly thought through to carry out effective business marketing.

Putting this into a plan, allows you to focus your resource (time as well as capital) alongside specific, measurable timeframes and goals. This plan will help you with the day to day running of your business; sensible and realistic resources allocated ahead of time, will help you manage performance of your marketing efforts. This will keep your team motivated and allow you to test, refine and edit activity to produce the best results.

The marketing plan is your roadmap, it provides you with clear direction making it straight forward to align execution and reporting to your objectives.

You don’t have to do it alone…

Planning your marketing for 6 months, 1 year or even 2 years in advance can seem daunting but you don’t have to undertake this task alone. In fact, having an outside perspective involved with your planning, asking different questions, challenging your thinking – can produce even better results.

And don’t forget this is not a one-off exercise that is completed and stored to never be looked at again. This is a living plan, to be referred to, updated and amended regularly – make it your friend not your foe. Find out more about marketing planning with Roots to Market here.

Where to start with direct marketing?

So, let’s start at the beginning, what is direct marketing?

Direct marketing is the opposite of inbound marketing. You may generate inbound interest and enquiries from having a website or publishing an advert, but you are not necessarily in control of who sees this and then enquires. Whereas direct marketing is exactly that – direct.

Direct marketing is aimed at a list of prospects who you wish to engage with and then you actively reach out to them either by phone, email or post. These prospects may be the business you really wish to work with, a focus on a certain industry sector, or a geographical area.

Why use direct marketing?

Direct marketing is a great method to use when targeting a specific prospect base. Allowing you to completely tailor your message and method of contact to what would suit those prospects. In a world with so much ‘noise’ and messages being shown to you every day, it’s proven that tailored relevant messaging is much more successful for converting than blanket messaging.

Direct marketing can also be a great medium to test campaigns to smaller amounts of recipients, allowing you to test and analyse this before rolling them out business wide.

What activity is classed as direct marketing? 

As with most sales and marketing techniques, in order to be effective it’s advisable to come at it from a number of angles. Therefore, use a mixture of methods to reach your prospects. Warming your prospects using intelligent targeted email marketing or direct mail can be followed by picking up the phone to talk in more depth, answer questions and guide the prospect through the funnel.

Telemarketing is a very personable method of direct marketing. Not only does this open up the opportunity for you to convey your product/service benefits and measure their reaction, this method also allows the prospect to ask any questions there and then meaning you are adding value whilst giving your sales pitch. The other benefit of this method is the ability to spot when the lead is warm enough to convert – allowing you to complete the sales cycle.

Other methods which work well alongside telemarketing or by themselves include email and direct mail. Email is a very cost effective method of reaching out to your prospects and warming them to your brand and service/products. Direct mail had become unfavourable as it was seen as ‘junk’ coming through the letterbox. However, this wave is now changing and we now receive more emails than letters, so to stand out direct mail is becoming more popular – it’s now a novelty for something to come through the letterbox at work.

We work with business across the UK helping them shape their marketing activity to see return on investment alongside building their sales pipeline and customer base. To find out more contact us on 01392 796702 or email us contact@roots2market.co.uk.