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What is a Marketing Strategy and How Do I Get One 4

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.
Mitch Joel

Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image — an award-winning Digital Marketing and Communications agency. His first book, Six Pixels of Separation, named after his successful Blog and Podcast is a business and marketing bestseller. Follow Mitch here: www.twistimage.com/blog.

What is a Marketing Strategy and How Do I Get One 4

Without a lighthouse, how would ships (prior to GPS) know where landfall was? How would they know that they were headed in the right direction? What would have been their beacon? Think of your Marketing Strategy as a lighthouse… and not a GPS system. Businesses often make the mistake of confusing the two. See, a GPS will give you the exact directions to your exact destination with turn-by-turn accuracy, and while it would be nice if you could create a document/map for your business like this, it simply is not realistic in this day and age. A true Marketing Strategy is simply: a lighthouse. It’s a vision for where you business needs to be and how you’re going to get there (but we’re open to tweak and adjust on the journey).

A great Marketing strategy is built in two parts: the “why?” and the “how?” Knowing “why” you’re doing something (the core strategy and vision) will lead you to the “how” – or the tactics (the stuff you’re going to do to make the vision “come to life”). A great way to start, would be to ask some questions and to spend the time critically thinking (and writing down!) the answers.

Here are some great questions to get your Marketing Strategy rolling:

  • What is the purpose of our business?
  • Why do people love buying from us?
  • If we could get them to buy more, what would we want them to buy and how much more money should they spend?
  • How much of our sales are we willing to put into our Marketing?
  • What are we willing to pay to find a brand new consumer?
  • What are we willing to pay to keep an existing customer?
  • What is the life-long value of a customer to us?
  • What would be the ideal Marketing mix? (how much traditional vs. new media makes sense)?
  • If we created a calendar, when we spend the most of our marketing budget and how would we spend it?
  • Are there other new marketing opportunities that we should be looking at?

Start with those questions and as the answers become crystallized, try to format your thoughts into a serious plan (if you do a simple online search for “marketing strategy,” you’ll find many templates that you can “adopt” as your own).

Always remember, without a strategy, you’re just another ship sailing in the night… destination unknown.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

1 What is Marketing Strategy and How Do I Get One 5

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.
Anita Campbell

Anita Campbell serves as CEO of Anita Campbell Associates Ltd, a woman-owned consulting firm helping companies and organizations reach the small business market. She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Small Business Trends, an award-winning online publication. She hosts Small Business Trends Radio, where she interviews other small business experts.

What is a Marketing Strategy and How Do I Get One 5

A lot of things in business sound more intimidating than they are. If you jump right in and “do” they become much easier.

Creating a marketing strategy is one of those things. A marketing strategy is nothing more than planning out how you intend to use marketing to achieve your business goals. You start by identifying the overall goals for your business. Then you break it down into marketing activities to support the business goals.

Here’s an example: let’s say one of your business goals for the year is to increase renewal business from existing customers by 15%. To develop your marketing strategy, think about the marketing efforts it would take to get more customers to renew. Maybe that involves a customer appreciation program to reach out to every existing customer personally at least 120 days before their contract comes due. Or maybe it involves creating and communicating a special pricing plan, designed to secure early renewals and lock in a longer renewal term. These and other types of marketing approaches will directly help increase renewals. Therefore, they become your marketing strategy.

Once you have decided up on a broad strategy to achieve your business goals, you break your strategy down into smaller chunks of activity (such as milestones and tactics). Breaking it down into smaller activities and next steps is important if you want to achieve the strategy. Nothing spells death to a strategy faster than staying broad and vague.

Some people go to great lengths to define terms like “strategy,” “objectives,” and “tactics.” For most of us in small businesses, we don’t need to get obsessive about the strategy process. For most of us it’s more important to just dig in and start working on marketing strategy, and not make it too complicated or intimidating for our staffs.

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here