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It may seem like a strange subject for someone who is a chartered marketer to write about, but allow me to explain.

People sometimes say, “I’ve done some marketing but it didn’t work.”  Have you heard anyone say this?  Have you said it?

What it is helpful to understand is that advertising shouldn’t be labelled as marketing and social media shouldn’t be labelled as marketing; marketing is so much more than that.

If you place an advert somewhere and the phone doesn’t ring, you might be tempted to say: “This marketing hasn’t worked”.  This is a common mistake.

Marketing, according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, is defined as:

The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”. 

What this means is that a lot of marketing is mostly about THINKING. It starts with planning and analysing.

Marketing helps you discover where your customers are, what they want and why they want it. It helps you determine the best way to communicate to your target market and what channels will get you the best return on your marketing investment. This is strategic marketing, or what I call, marketing thinking.

Once your marketing thinking has been done, it is safe to go ahead and do some marketing communicating, whether that be by using Facebook, advertising in a local magazine, or sending out email campaigns for example. A marketing plan helps you determine this.

The key to effective marketing is to have a plan.

Here are some hints and tips as to how you can do some marketing thinking and take the first steps towards the creation of a marketing plan to help you generate more opportunities for your business:

  1. Implement a feedback form in your business. Always ask your customers if they are happy with your service and if there is anything else you can provide them.
  1. Carry out a customer survey. Talk to your existing customers to find out as much as possible about why they chose to use your services or buy your products.
  1. Ask your existing customers what they read, watch and listen to. If you know your existing customers are reading a certain magazine for example, chances are your potential target customers are too.
  1. Research your competitors. What are they doing well?  What are they doing badly?  Learn from them.
  1. Scan your market. Is it showing signs of growth or decline?  Is the government, the environment or the economy going to have an impact that you need to take advantage of, or create contingency plans for?
  1. Set measurable objectives. Know your goals.  Be realistic but aim high.
  1. Create an action plan targeting the tight people with the right message as to how you can achieve your goal, based on the marketing thinking you have done.
  1. Assign responsibilities and timescales.

By doing your marketing planning before you start communicating, you’re guaranteed to see a better return on your marketing.

If you would like to know more about how marketing planning can grow your business, please call 01522 581 911 to arrange your complimentary marketing consultation.

(This blog was featured in the latest edition of the Journal)