Before you embark on a marketing/PR campaign, you need to have a plan; I am a planning freak as I really believe that for something (anything) to be successful, there has to be a plan of attack.
Our standard marketing/PR plan layout for all SME clients (the bigger companies have their own!) is a simple spreadsheet that lists all the possible activities down the side, and the days/weeks/months along the top (depending on how much activity you are planning – weekly is the most usual). We usually have the activities listed in sections, so for a marketing client we would break it down under headings such as advertising, public relations, direct marketing, etc – even social activities can be included as this helps to act as a reminder that you need to get out there!
To fill in the plan, you need to have an idea of budget – and this can be anything you feel comfortable with; you don’t have to spend a fortune, and let’s face it, you are probably not going to go for some of the more costly items, such as TV or outdoor advertising (and if you are, then I would hope that you know how to plan for this already, otherwise you stand to lose a lot of money!). And then you start to fill the plan in, taking into account the quieter times (July/August), peak times for your particular business – for example, if you are bringing out a new product or service you need to intensify what happens in the marketing build up around that time – Christmas, etc.
You also need to think about one of my other pet topics; little and often – you don’t want to spend most of your money on one big event as that will only have a short-term effect. So ensure that you spread the spend evenly through the year and across the activities, so that you get the ‘drip, drip, drip’ effect that I have mentioned previously.
Then there is another very important consideration. KNOW WHO YOU ARE TARGETING!! I put this in capital letters as I have had so many conversations in recent weeks – and can I just say that these have included with some senior marketing people in big firms – where it is quite clear that the marketing is being planned around who the company WANTS its customers to be, rather than who they actually are!
Let’s say you have a very expensive product that is beyond the reach of most, especially the locals. How can you possibly expect your marketing to succeed if your advertising, PR, direct mailing and so on is targeted only at local, average wage earners.. do you see my point?
If you know who you are targeting and if you plan your marketing with the overall aim of achieving the ‘drip, drip, drip effect’, then marketing really does work.
Or does it?
More follows soon.