Whether you are a start up or an established enterprise, one of the key components to ongoing success in any business is a marketing blueprint. This is a formalized structure for marketing your enterprise which provides you with a checklist of steps that any enterpriser needs to direct their business.
The blueprint’s objectives are to:
• provide a game plan to guide the process as it moves forward throughout the year; and
• provide a reference against which you can measure the progress of the plan.
Here are ten essential steps to consider in drawing up your blueprint for success.
1. Define your objectives before you begin. How far and/or how fast do you want your enterprise to grow? In what direction do you want it to grow? Who do you want as customers? Can you penetrate the most profitable markets?
2. Do your homework. Figure out who your customer is, where he/she can be reached with the least amount of expense. Developing a good customer profile will define both the media you use and the message you create.
3. Make sure your product/service is ready to sell. When you are sure that your product/service is valuable to customers, the next step is to make sure that it can be replicated or repeated in a relatively seamless fashion.
4. Adopt the correct attitude. Understand, and accept the risk. “The nature of business is risk” a seasoned veteran and successful entrepreneur once told me. Like the stock market, you are seeking greater yields in exchange for a certain degree of risk.
In any enterprise there are two overarching objectives that must be kept in mind and that is– to generate opportunities and remain profitable.
As you begin to consider what message to bring to market about your products or services, you should first consider the following factors:
5. Define your identity. Is your product or service recognizable? Does it have an established brand identity? The answer to this question will affect your strategy.
6. Cultivate an Image. Is your product/service viewed in a positive light within its chosen markets? Are you satisfied with your company’s image? Would you like to change or enhance it?
7. Select your market position. Where does your product/service stand in regard to its competition? How are the other products/services in your market viewed by customers and prospects? What your competition is, says, and does relates to your positioning strategy.
8. Target each market segment. You should also be evaluating your chosen market(s) for those niches that offer the greatest opportunity for the least amount of advertising/promotion expenditure. In most cases, a mature market segment that understands what your product/service is and does, may be the best place to start if you have a smaller budget. Within the agreed-upon target markets, select a focus area to begin the development process. This means matching up one or more of your enterprise’s line of products or services with likely prospects within the target markets. For example, a company that makes custom displays and exhibits might choose to target organizations that are celebrating a centennial (or other significant anniversary), and make them aware of its permanent and semi-permanent historical displays. In this case, the company is taking a focus area and matching it with an identifiable market opportunity.
9. Create your marketing support campaign. Many business development plans require the creation of marketing communication and advertising materials to support the deployment of the program. A website brochure(s), social media, email and direct mail blasts, print advertisements, radio spots, as well as social media, website marketing and blogs. Should we moved in you blueprint, based on need and budget. The same factors that helped to formulate your marketing should also be considered when developing advertising and sales-aid materials.
10. Follow-through matters. On a quarterly basis you should do the following:
• evaluate protegess toward objectives
• adjust marketing program, where needed
• review profitability of sales and adjust accordingly
• evaluate operating and marketing costs, adjust accordingly
• look for new opportunities
No matter how good your blueprint is, poor or irregular implementation will increase the risk of failure. If nothing else, the Business Development process provides the tools to lay a track for your enterprise to follow. Choosing to follow that track to your dreams is a measure of your organization’s ability to rise to a challenge, as well as its commitment to success.