Regardless of where you are marketing your business, be it on the Web, with traditional offline techniques, or a combination of the two, it is vital that you take the time to have a comprehensive plan in place. This plan should outline a number of different areas, including the overall strategy you put in place, your target audience, what you hope to accomplish through your marketing efforts, and a competitive analysis, just to name a few. Many businesses that market themselves fail to create their marketing plan, and thus, miss out on a number of opportunities to improve their campaigns as time goes on.
The three most important factors (by definitely not only!) you should be looking at in terms of mapping out your marketing campaign are:
- Who is the Target of this Campaign?: Discovering the target of a campaign seems like it would be easiest component, but you would surprised how many businesses have difficulty defining this group. Too often businesses feel that their target is too broad, and thus miss out on actually targeting anyone. Refine the group you are targeting just enough so that your content is focused and has the best opportunity to appeal to them.
- What Channels Will You Utilize?: Defining the channels you want to utilize for your marketing campaign is vital, and has a lot to do with the audience you previously defined. Is TV the best outlet to reach your target demographic? What about social media? Or radio? Odds are, there is no one channel that is perfect for your campaign, so you need to determine where you will be active and what you hope to get out of each channel.
- Market Research/Competitive Analysis: This is the area where you will define what your competitors are doing and can identify ways that you will differentiate yourself from them. If you have a direct competitor that is running a very specific campaign, you will want to make sure that you are not just mirroring whom they are targeting and how they are approaching their customers. The key to memorable messaging is to stand out from the crowd.
Having a plan is important when approaching your marketing efforts. By taking the time to properly plan out your marketing efforts, you can properly set your marketing campaign for success. Marketing cannot be approached with the “set it and forget it” mentality, and by properly planning, you will be best equipped to identify ways to further enhance your campaign as time goes on.