If you and your team have worked on a yearly plan for 2014, you will certainly have looked at how to increase your sales, either by acquiring new business or by improving margins on your current portfolio.
I believe that, if a company wants to survive, it needs to look regularly for new business. You cannot rely just on your current customer portfolio, even though you might have a very profitable and loyal one.
In today’s world, competition is getting stronger and stronger. Marketing has become extremely sophisticated, and there are thousands of marketing strategies that a business can implement to increase its sales. The fact that marketing books are now very popular demonstrates this.
While every business should have a strategic marketing plan, every business is different. What works for one business may not work for another, even though both operate in the same sector. In addition, we cannot use the same marketing strategy for every customer target.
I strongly believe that, if you wish to make your strategic marketing plan work effectively, you should:
1.Choose only a few strategies – maybe one or two new ones. Having a busy plan with several tactics will only confuse your team, and will overload them with so many things to do. The key is to choose only a few strategies and do them well, regularly and consistently.
For example, if you think that networking within a specific trade or industry could be good for your company, make sure you pin all events in your agenda for the coming year. Do your homework before going to see who you would like to talk to, and think about what you would like to say briefly to attract interest.
2.Master the chosen strategy, learn more about the down side and improve it continuously. You will need to become an expert on that specific strategy; you cannot just rely on doing things and hoping for the best. You might need to read books (about networking, using LinkedIn and so on), attend workshops or other events. As mentioned before, marketing is becoming very sophisticated, so details can make a huge difference. Just ensure that you do not over process it: simplicity is sometimes the best solution. It is all about balance.
3.Implement a clear process, so it can run with little supervision. The worst thing that can happen is that, after a few weeks of intense work, an unforeseen circumstance means you miss a milestone and your reputation goes downhill.
4.Implement targets and milestones. Ensure that you know where you are going and perform small checks on the way.
5.Measure your marketing strategy. You can only improve something if you can measure it.
For example, if you decide to contact x people, count how many seem interested, how many you have a meeting with and so on. You can implement different measures of success; just choose an appropriate one then, with time, you can see what the numbers tell you.
6.Reassess and adjust your plan and every tactic. Nothing is perfect at the beginning, so make a start and adjust accordingly on the way.
Some marketing strategies will be easy to implement but might not help you to get sustainable and regular business. Others will require more work and effort but will provide a more viable source of income. Always have a mix of both.
At our webinar ‘Finding opportunities’, we will review some of the most common strategies and tactics for finding work in the private (corporate) sector and public (government) sector. So you can choose the ones you wish to implement this year. Register here.