In the big wide world of marketing there are so many things that one can do, especially small businesses. Small businesses have more flexibility, and often more determination, than their counterpart corporations. They may not have billions of dollars to throw at advertising and marketing research, but rather than allowing it to be a limitation, it needs to be a boundary which inspires creativity. However, creativity still needs structure and marketing is one of those fields that without definition can get lost in the thickets.
Structuring your marketing can be done in many different ways, but the starting point is always to ask a few key questions. Any business, big or small, will not be able to measure the success of their marketing endeavors without a plan.
Before starting any new marketing project you may want to begin greasing the wheel with these few questions:
* What is the goal? What are you looking to accomplish with this next advertisement, article, video, etc. The more specific you are here, the easier it will be to build the content around it.
* What have you done in the past; what has worked and what hasn’t? If you haven’t been tracking your successes and failures in the past you are functioning with a hand tied behind your back and may be easily swayed by the next big thing. Just because something sounds really cool, how do you know if it is effective for your business?
* Who is your target market and clients? The more you know and understand your target market the better you can do just that ‘target’ them. They want what you have, which is why they are your target market, but, they may not know that you have it. This relates to a previous blog post entitled “Grow Your Business by Getting to Know Your Clients”.
* What is your time frame? How much time have you allotted yourself to reach the proposed goal? Is it a realistic time frame with the strategy you are intending on implementing? Be aware if you are using a long-term strategy and giving it only a short time to show results. Make sure your strategy matches your time frame.
* How can you track the success or failure of your strategy? Every marketing plan needs to have a tracking system; otherwise, as mentioned earlier you are working with a hand tied behind your back. Creativity is often required in finding a way to track the progress if one is not easily presented.
* How much time and money can you spend? This question isn’t intended to stifle but rather to help set realistic boundaries. Take into consideration your time frame and your budget; they need to be in alignment with one another.
This is not a definitive list of questions – they are a starting point to guide you through your next marketing project. Marketing should be fun, creative, and explorative. By applying some structure, you can come out of the marketing maze on top.