When the marketing manager of a large corporation has a $20 million marketing budget just for print ads, they have room to make mistakes, produce the wrong ads, and even scrap the marketing plan half-way through completion. Small businesses don’t have such freedom and liberty. Small business marketing should contain a plan before anything else happens in the company in the area of sales and marketing. There should be budgets and strategies created as early as possible and reviewed as often as possible.
Create a marketing plan as soon as you decide to start a business.
My company specializes in helping small businesses with marketing and design, and we encounter many of the same problems, and they all stem from lack of early planning. Once you decide to start a business, start creating a marketing plan.
- Who are your customers?
- What are their needs and wants?
- How will you acquire new customers?
- What kind of customer relationship management systems will you use?
- What do your customers expect from you?
- What are your products’ benefits?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How will you advertise?
- How much will you budget for marketing?
This list is actually very small when it comes to creating a marketing plan, but you must answer all of these questions and more. Small business marketing must be precise, have a defined strategy, and contain at least a rough budget. Figure out who your customer is, how you will reach them, and why they will buy from you. Starting with these three areas will give you a plethora of other questions to answer in figuring out the maze of small business marketing.