Do independent retailers need a marketing plan?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from The Retail Doctor’s Blog.
Many independent retailers have never considered a marketing plan unless they had to file for an SBA loan.
If you don’t have a marketing plan, you really haven’t focused your attention on who your customer is or how you’ll reach them. One of the greatest benefits of doing so is that, once its developed, all of your planning becomes easier.
The good news is that creating a plan for your small business doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. But “build it and they will come just” doesn’t work in 2017.
Five questions to ask in forming a plan:
- Who am I?: What makes your small business better? What makes you unique? How is what you do different than your competitors? Better yet, why do you do what you do?
- Who are my customers? You can’t market to everyone effectively. That’s like shooting a shotgun into the air and hoping you hit something. Yes, you will have many types of customers, but stay focused on just three different ones, or “personas.” The smaller and more focused your audience, the less you will spend to reach them.
- What are my goals? This is part of knowing whether your campaign is successful or not, so choose your goals to be black and white results, not a feeling.
- How much can I afford to spend to achieve these goals? Your budget will keep your marketing expenses from spiraling out of control or running out of money when you really need to be visible, like during the holidays. You don’t want to spend $1000 to get $500 in sales, so be realistic.
- How exactly are you going to reach your target market to meet your goals? The simplest way is to work backwards from your goals to develop strategies (what’s your logic) and tactics (how you’re going to do it). Then plug them into a calendar.
And just for the record, word-of-mouth is not a marketing plan. It’s the bonus, the pink frosting on the vanilla cupcake.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Of the questions listed in the article, which are most challenging for independents to answer? What components should independents include in their marketing plans in 2017?