Chatting on the My Business Podcast, Phil Tarrant – editor of My Business and director of Momentum Media – and Sascha Moore, founder of Create Design & Marketing, agree that marketing plans need not be the weighty and confusing documents of yesteryear.
“I think a lot of people get marketing wrong,” says Phil.
“They don't actually think about a marketing plan, and every business, it doesn't matter what you do, whether you're a plumber or an electrician, a cafe, whatever, you need to have a marketing plan.”
Phil says his marketing plan comprises four simple points.
“‘What makes me different?’ Number one. ‘Who are my customers?’ Number two. ‘What do I need to say to those customers to help me win business or maintain business?’ Number three. ‘Then, how am I going to talk to those guys?’ Number four. That's really, really simple,” he says.
This simple and adjustable plan also sits at the heart of what Sascha works to achieve with her clients.
“You're absolutely right. People associate marketing plans with this very abstract concept, because it used to be [that] we would spend six months developing the year's forecast, the year's marketing plan. It would be this massive document and it would be full of strategies and corresponding tactics and so on and so forth,” she says.
“[But] that's a very old-school way to look at it, and you spend a lot of time and you spend a lot of money doing that.
“What that doesn't take into account is the fluidity of the current market … it meant that it was set and then that was it; it wasn't at all responsive to the market.”
Instead, Sascha says a marketing plan should be a fluid document that you can easily contemplate on the commute to work or whenever you have a few minutes to yourself.
“You don't have to be locked in an office to work this stuff out. It's just really answering it in one-liner bullet points and getting your ducks in a row,” she says.
“That's the hard bit, to work those core elements out. To then work out the tactics starts to become much easier, because all you need to do is start to look around, look at your own behaviour and look where you get your influences from.”
Sascha says that as well as investing your time wisely, you should do the same for your marketing budget.
“With your marketing plan, work out how you can reach your market in a true way to connect to them, as opposed to spending a lot of money with them,” she says.