Before you’re ready to start marketing your business, you need a plan. Marketing plans don’t require you to have formal knowledge of marketing (that’s where the pros come in), but they help you assess your needs prior to working with an agency. They help you focus on short- and long-term goals, and they provide a foundation for ongoing marketing work that can build on past efforts and help you monitor how well you succeed at achieving your pre-established objectives. They can also be adapted as your business grows in accordance with its size, changing needs and levels of advertising engagement.

Here are the basic steps to get started (adaptable to your select business needs):

• Determine specifically what your mission is (marketing a new project, establishing a brand, creating an overall strategy for ongoing, sequential efforts) and define your product (goods, services, etc.) in a way that makes sense both for your internal purposes and to potential clients and customers or investors and regulators you may wish to or be required to share it with.

• Analyze your current strengths and weaknesses in the business overall as of when you’re ready to launch your marketing initiative as well as with any pre-existing marketing projects (design Strengths, Weaknesses, Objectives, Threats (SWOT) chart; more on this another time); also look into the current climate for your industry both locally and nationwide.

• Create a nuanced financial budget both for your present agenda and including a 5-year plan; also consider your resources in terms of employees and time.

• Brainstorm ways to grow your marketing over time, with realistic limitations and expectations, such as conducting research into competitors’ stats for foundational data or speculating future reports once analytics begin to come in (especially useful if you’re a new business getting started, under new management or rebranding).

• Establish predetermined benchmarks. How will you define success? How can you measure if you’re meeting your objectives? Finding ways to qualify and rate your journey will be instrumental in helping you push ahead and outdo your preceding efforts.

• Consider breaking down the overall report into multiple areas to best create teams and target techniques for achieving your objectives – especially in terms of marketing widely varying products/services or creating multiple campaigns for the same singular objective.

Are you a small-business owner or entrepreneur ready to start building out your marketing plan? Ask how Mad 4 Marketing can set you up for present and future success.