Author : John Bernhoft

4Feb
Avoid High Anxiety With A Marketing ReviewAvoid High Anxiety With A Marketing Review

Avoid High Anxiety With A Marketing Review

With high anxiety during periods of economic stagnation, budget and staff-cuts are always at the forefront. But, take a good look at what is and is not working before you make your decisions. Some common reactionary mistakes include:

  • Reduction of sales and customer service staff before reviewing other parts of the operation. Sales and customer service is the lifeline of a successful organization.
  • Continuing current advertising “because we have always done this” and without a good understanding of cost versus value.
  • Not requiring measurable statistics of all advertising activities.
  • A panicked approach to finding new clients.

Where to Start?

Are your customers raving fans? Are they selling your services for you? If not, go out and buy the book “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service” by Ken Blanchard. A good customer service plan is central to any solid marketing strategy. That includes continuing to market to existing clients and providing them with great service. If you don’t, you’ll certainly see a drop in revenue.

Focus on Marketing Statistics as You Review Budget Categories

As you review budget categories, put marketing at the top. Analyze the previous year. Conduct a detailed review of every marketing activity, including a cost/benefit study. It’s time to break out the Return on Investment (ROI) statistics you’ve been compiling.

What worked well for you? What didn’t? Advertising line items for which you have not compiled ROI statistics must be considered suspect. Go back to any advertising provider and ask for market penetration and segmentation statistics. Are you able to document how many new clients or how much additional revenue can be attributed to each and every advertising campaign? If not, the campaign is a candidate for termination.

If you can’t show measurable results from a program designed to grow your client base, discontinue it. It’s time to stay in front of your current clients, solidifying their business with exceptional customer service and product offerings. Ignoring current clients while searching for new ones can be disastrous. Do those things that have the highest potential to bring immediate and sustained impact to your bottom line through your current client base.

Beef  Up Marketing With Customer Service

Disciplined, planned marketing activities need not be costly to be effective. Implementing a referral program, a thank-you program andother scheduled client “touches” might provide the anchor that keeps your clients coming back. If you can retain more clients, with fewer engaging the competition, you’ll feel less pressure to rush to add new clients. A leading reason clients look to the competition is some dissatisfaction with customer service. When clients feel neglected, they leave. Ask yourself the tough questions and then ask your customers the same. A customer survey will provide you with valuable information to help drive client retention.

There’s No Quick Fix

It’s time to resist reacting to the economy with quick-fix advertising activities that you hope will generate a quick improvement. Advertising to new clients requires a disciplined, long-term plan. There are no silver bullets to magically drive new customers your way. Advertising outlets are also feeling the crunch of revenue pullbacks. They may employ more aggressive sales techniques, often with unrealistic and undocumented projections. Rather than sign up for a quick-fix program that may prove to be ineffective, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can seek the assistance of an independent consultant. Take the time to create a written marketing plan and update it every 90 to 180 days. Be sure that taking care of existing clients is a key part of that plan. Take care of them first and they’ll take care of you. Avoid the high anxiety!

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28Jan
falling-off-the-ladderAre Your customers Falling off the Ladder?

Are Your customers Falling off the Ladder?

Are Your Customers Falling Off the Ladder? Every business owner must ask this critical question regularly.  Your customer loyalty ladder profile can say a lot about the health of your business.  One of the primary reasons small businesses and startups fail is a lack of marketing activities directed at customer loyalty.  This failure rate is exaggerated during a struggling economy as customers hunker down with the businesses that they already have established a solid relationship with.  This customer ladder is the path your customers take from the first moment they hear about your business to the final level of interaction in which they choose to engage your business.

Beyond just looking at how customers fit into your ladder we need to look at how your budget is allocated across it.  Where in the ladder will we obtain the greatest return on investment (ROI)? Various experts have identified several different versions of this ladder, some with 5 rungs and some with a few more depending on the level of granularity desired to describe the customer.  Take a close look at your customers and identify what percentage of your sales comes from each of the following classifications.  Then look at where you spend your marketing dollars.

The Suspect – a person or business that has heard or been exposed to your business or advertising.

The Prospect – a person or business that has responded by showing interest in your message.  We can add granularity by identifying a rung for those who merely showing interest from those who are beginning to negotiate how they want to buy.  These would be your buyers or shoppers.

The Customer – a person or business that has purchased your goods or services once.

The Client or Member – a person or business that has made multiple purchases.  These are your loyal customers.

The Advocate – a person or business that refers prospects to your business.  Let us note that a referral will skip the expense of moving from the suspect rung to prospect.  The cost of moving a referral from prospect to customer is significantly lower than new prospects coming through your suspect phase.

The Raving Fan – a person or business that can’t help themselves from selling your goods or  services for you.  An advocate will make referrals but a raving fan is part of your team. A healthy business will spend 30 percent of their marketing dollars on activities that move customers up to the top portion of the ladder.  They will spend 70 percent of their marketing dollars on advertising seeking new customers.  Many struggling businesses I have come into contact with are allocating their marketing dollars in a 5/95 split, consuming most of their budget frantically seeking new customers.  They need this because they are losing customers after a single purchase.  Their customers are falling off the ladder.  They have made a critical mistake of not building a relationship with the customer to increase their loyalty. To bring a suspect up your ladder to the customer level through traditional advertising can cost four times the expense of attracting a repeat customer.  In addition it can take 30 to 50 times the advertising dollars to bring a suspect up to the customer level versus having an advocate refer the prospect. This illustration depicts just how important it is to never lose sight of marketing to your existing customer base.  Loyal customers can be your anchor through the ebbs and flows of a business cycle, and the passion of advocates and raving fans can be more effective than an in-house sales team at bringing highly qualified prospects to your business, all due to the power of a referral.

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26Jan
baking for your businessBaking for Your Business

Baking for Your Business

So you’re at the checkout of a large retailer, and your cashier doesn’t bother to acknowledge you as you approach. Instead, he continues his conversation with his co-worker at the next register, throwing in a “Here ya go” as he hands you your bag and receipt.

Or maybe you’re having a bad day and the phone rings. You pick it up, spew a quick greeting, and find a customer with another “stupid” question. As your customer is talking, you’re rolling your eyes and making gestures as if to say, “Get on with it.” Then, as you answer that question for the 20th time that day, your voice sounds monotonous, bored, and annoyed.

With customer service as one of the most complained-about aspects of business and such a significant component of your overall marketing, improving the client-company relationship is a necessity. I witness good customer service at work on a daily basis and do my best to provide it with all of my customer interactions. After all, since I expect it, I should provide it as well.

But still I wonder… Why is it so difficult to give and receive great customer experiences sometimes? It shouldn’t be; we all know how we like to be treated ourselves, so what makes it so difficult to give others the same treatment? Why do we continue to return to places that don’t treat us well enough? Have we grown tolerant of such poor practices that sub-par customer service has become the norm?

It bothered me that, in the past, I had not always given my customers the best experience I could, and conversely, that I had not always had a good one when I was the customer. So I went to my customer service kitchen and concocted a recipe to help me improve. What came out was some sweet customer service, sure to make everyone happy. The recipe is pretty much universal, so please, try it for yourself.

In a large bowl, start with a smile. Sound cheesy? Maybe a little simple or cliché?  Perhaps. But going off personal experience, this is not so easy to do. Make smiling the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning. Smile at everyone you meet. Smile when you answer the phone—it really is noticeable in your voice. This simple gesture can go a long way. It will make your customers feel welcome, appreciated, and often it will disarm them. It’s tough to be upset with someone who looks and sounds happy to see or hear you.

Sprinkle in some compliments to co-workers. Whether directly involved or not, your team is also a big part of your customer experience. Tell Jane you like her earrings. Acknowledge (constructively) Bill’s haircut, or just wish everyone a genuine “Good morning.” This helps to set a positive tone for the workplace, and when your service team is happy, it’s easier for them to keep your customers happy.

Next, add a finely cured greeting. This is a multiple-step process. As you approach your customers, remember the first ingredient. Verbally welcome them. Introduce yourself. Get your customer’s name, repeat it, and remember it. Shake hands. There aren’t many people who wouldn’t like to be met like this, and it’s easy enough to do.

Stir in the details. Taking the time to make sure your customer understands your product, service, or situation helps in a few areas. It ensures everyone is on the same page, better informs the customer, and thus eliminates those easily avoidable hiccups and headaches that would otherwise arise.

Now blend in a genuine “thank you.” In my experience, this is all too often overlooked. Thanking clients for their business should be automatic, but these two words are not used enough in customer service today. Expressing a genuine “thank you” is another great way to let your clients know they are important to you.

Finally, toss in a pinch of observation time.  This is to make sure your employees are following this recipe for great customer service. Do this when they don’t know you’re looking, and you may be surprised at how different some of them treat your customers. Performing observations and offering feedback will help make sure your recipe is consistent.

Now, mix all these ingredients well and bake in your business. What comes out is a fantastic pan of customer service that moves patrons up the client ladder and keeps ‘em coming back for more.

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25Jan
FB or TTwitter or Facebook?: No Right Answer Without Asking the Right Question!

Twitter or Facebook?: No Right Answer Without Asking the Right Question!

I came across a blog article titled “Social Media 101: Get your feet wet with Facebook” written by Jeff Larch of Digital Solid.  He was participating in a panel discussion the other day on the hot topic of social media when a member of the audience asked, “I know of MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., but the only one I am a member of is LinkedIn – and I barely know how to use that.  How do I prioritize as I get my feet wet in them?”

Mr. Larch went on to give four valid reasons to why he would advise Facebook over Twitter which you can read here.

I would like to take a moment to offer my advice to the questioner along with any of you that may have the same question.

Before making any clear calls, I would ask the #1 question we ask all of our clients prior to offering any advice, consultation, or service:  “What are your objectives?”  The questioner did state that they wanted to get their “feet wet” in the social media universe.  But I’m curious to know, “Where did they plan to go or what did they plan to do once they learn how to swim?

Based on their response to that question, then, and only then, do I believe you can offer the best advice on which would be better for a beginner because usage of each current service can lead to a different result.

If the questioner simply wanted to connect with friends and family, then Facebook may be the best option at this time.  If they had an interest in music and entertainment, then a few years ago, MySpace would have been a better option. Although today, that social media platform is largely considered defunct, even for those in the music industry. If they wanted to professionally network, then LinkedIn would be a better fit.  If they were an information junkie and had an interest that they wanted to read or share frequently, then Twitter may be the best option.  In addition, the questioner should know that some sites are limited to only allowing the user to brand themselves, while other sites are more business and organization friendly.

Getting your feet wet in the waves of an ocean is a different experience from getting them wet in the calm of a pond.  Knowing which experience the questioner was looking for would best determine which direction I would point.  Based on your objectives, you may need to familiarize yourself and learn how to use multiple networks and tools to reach all of your target audience.  I can tell you from firsthand experience that beyond the signup stage, each site and tool is unique in how it can be and should be used so test driving one will not give you a beginner’s understanding of them all.

If the questioner was a business owner or executive, then there are even more questions he or she would need to answer before I could offer my best advice.  Do you have a marketing plan?  What is your market?  Can you describe your ideal customer?  What is your annual marketing budget?  And in terms of social media marketing and/or networking, I would definitely need to know if he or she had “more time than money, or more money than time.”

Most importantly in terms of business, Tom Snyder said it best in his Trivera blog: “Social media is an advertising activity, and not marketing.  Social media is a tactic, and not a strategy.  Advertising = Tactic  /  Marketing = Strategy.”

At 360 Direct, we agree that social media should be part of an overall marketing plan.  If it’s done in an ad hoc fashion, especially since most of your potential customers and clients are still unfamiliar with social media, then it poses the risk to either disappoint or possibly damage you and/or your company’s brand.  Based on the news reports I’ve seen time and time again, it’s clear that simple mistakes like posting a politically incorrect comment, or sharing a private picture can lead to big problems for you and your company.  Once it’s on the web, you lose total control over how it will be used or depicted by everyone who views it.

If you or the questioner would not be comfortable handling a public relations campaign for yourself or your company, then you should think twice before promoting and branding yourself or your company through social media without consulting with a professional prior to creating your first screen name.  No matter which new social media services you ultimately choose to “get your feet wet” in or implement into your larger marketing strategy, the old axiom still remains true:  “If you fail to plan, you fail to plan.”  So look hard before you leap.

For whatever it’s worth, in case you are wondering how I came across Mr. Larch’s article…..it was through a “tweet” on Twitter.

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21Jan
Should my business enter the social media network?Should my business enter the social media network?

Should my business enter the social media network?

Years ago, this question began resonating in marketing meetings across the country as the Internet steadily becomes more of a necessity than an commodity. However, in spite of its prevalence in our society, the percentage of businesses aware of social media is still fairly low. There is not only a technology barrier involved, but an age gap. Social media, also called Web 2.0, is an evolutionary sector spawned through the Internet primarily by college students and youth, hence the age gap. Business owners today may feel like they have the Internet well in hand. They understand the web, email, and ecommerce.  However, just when they thought they had mastered the technology around them, new trends made it speed by at light speed.  If you find yourself in that group, don’t feel too bad. Even technology “geeks” in their 30s and 40s have been caught by surprise and are grappling to fully understand this continually evolving phenomenon.

Social media already has powerful marketing capabilities. Products and services are being marketed through the viral nature of this network every minute of everyday. If your business has customers or is seeking customers that are using social media, you will need to understand this network, or hire someone to manage it for you. It will become an evolution of your overall web strategy. As social media use expands, so do the age demographics that utilize it, which increases the number of industries for which social media becomes a vital marketing tactic.

Facebook and Twitter have taken the population by storm for the past several years, and have led the way in developing the social media space. You adapted, broke down, and yes, created your own Facebook page. You smiled, as you thought you were now up to date on the new technology. Don’t get too comfortable though, because now you must learn the ropes of Tumblr, post photos to Flickr, and utilize Medium to promote your blogs. The bottom line is technology is always changing, and as soon as you adjust to the nuances of Web2.0, Web 3.0 will start to loom on the horizon. Remember that about 20 years ago the internet did not exist for all but universities and the military. How did business function without email in 1994? I scarcely remember.

360 Direct is riding the technological storm and staying up to date on the trends so that our customers don’t have to. Find out more about what 360 Direct is doing to bring together your business and cutting edge technology at our blog.

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20Jan
twitteringThe Business of Twitter(ing)

The Business of Twitter(ing)

The Business of Twitter(ing).

What is Twitter?

The best definition and breakdown we have come across was in a article titled “Can all that Twitters turn to gold amid the gloom?” by Michael Liedtke from the Associated Press (AP) when he defined twitter as:

“….the 21st-century version of the telegraph.  Here’s how Twitter works:  After setting up a free account, people are encouraged to post frequent updates about what they are doing, seeing and feeling.  The messages, known as “tweets”, must be limited to 140 characters and can be sent from a mobile phone or a computer.  Althought updates are available for anyone to see, Twitter users usually set up their accounts to monitor the tweets of people they know and admire.  These “followers” are automatically fed tweets from people they are shadowing.”

Other good definitions we have heard thrown around are the “next generation of a AOL instant messenger away message” or a “independent variation of Facebook’s status update.”

How can Twitter benefit you and your business?

Twitter and Marketing: A General Overview

Twitter is one of the 4 top social media sites for marketing.  There’s been a great deal of articles on how Twitter can be used for marketing purposes and we think most of them can be condensed to the simple aim of tracking and directing attention. Twitter allows you to monitor how influencers think or feel, you can also get into their attention zone via active networking.

For businesses, Twitter is another channel which connects current and potential customers with your product or brand. It allows deeply infiltration into the lifestyles of interested participants, which helps to build brand persistence/loyalty.

In its most obvious form, Twitter can be seen as a traffic generation tool. The placement of links within profiles and conversations can direct visitors to a specific website and is especially powerful if you pitch to early adopters and influencers.

As a lead acquisition tool, it doesn’t always reach the audience you want. Most Twitter users are somewhat web savvy and it is extremely difficult to target a specific subset of the general demographic and determine their level of potential interest.

As there isn’t an option to advertise within Twitter (unlike Facebook), Twitter marketing is a task that involves two-way audience engagement, on the part of the marketer or business owner. In a way, this is a good thing.

The Problem With Twitter

Twitter is not a difficult tool to use so there’s a low barrier of entry; Anyone can pick it up. What really matters is how it impacts your online habits and daily life. For many, Twitter is a distraction, albeit one that is very much welcome.

It saps your attention and pulls your focus away from other tasks. Kathy Sierra goes a step further and talks about the very real fear of being disconnected:

Ironically, services like Twitter are simultaneously leaving some people with a feeling of not being connected, by feeding the fear of not being in the loop. By elevating the importance of being “constantly updated,” it amplifies the feeling of missing something if you’re not checking Twitter (or Twittering) with enough frequency.

The issue here is that effective Twitter usage necessarily involves an investment in time and attention. One needs to be plugged in to a certain extent to reap the benefits that come from using Twitter. Even listening takes an effort.

17 Ways to Use Twitter

Here is a quick summary of all the ways you can use Twitter for both your professional or personal life. Some of these methods go beyond the use of Twitter as a lifestreaming device:

1.        Personal Branding. Twitter is a social media platform you can use to build your personal brand. It has the primary benefit of developing a casual persona and establishes you as a social personality that is connected and approachable. As Twitter adoption increases, new users will be drawn towards well established Twitter personas.

2.        Get Feedback. Need an alternative perspective on how a website looks or the right course of action to take? Blast out a message asking for advice and you’ll receive replies from other users. This collective intelligence can be used as fodder for articles or projects.

3.        Hire People. Need a good logo designer, marketer or programmer? Send out a message asking for recommendations. This is a very quick and easy way to hire freelancers or even companies based on familiar recommendations.

4.        Direct traffic. Twitter can be used to get traffic to your websites or the sites of friends. If you ask your friends to tweet about it, the message will spread faster and further as other active users pick it up. There is a viral nature to all types of news, even on a site like Twitter.

5.        Read News. Twitter users often link to useful sites or articles and can be a source of scoops and alternative news. You can also subscribe to Twitter feeds for specific websites/conferences, which allows you to receive and view content quickly. This is very useful for active social news participants.

6.        Make New Friends. Like any other social network, Twitter has a built-in function for you to befriend and track the messages of other users. This is an easy way for you connect with people outside of your usual circle. Make an effort to add active users you find interesting. A Twitter acquaintance can be developed into a long lasting friendship.

7.        Network for benefits. Twitter can be used as a socializing platform for you to interact with other like-minded people, especially those in the same industry. It can be used to establish consistent and deeper relationships for future benefits such as testimonials or peer recommendations.

8.        Use it as a To-Do list. Use Twitter to record down what you need to do while you are away from the computer. Mark the tweet as a favorite to file it for referencing. Another alternative is to use an Online task management service that is synced with Twitter. One example is Remember The Milk.

9.        Business Management. Twitter can be used as a company intranet that connects employees to one another. Workers can liaise with each other when working on group projects. Particularly useful when certain workers go out often in the field. Updates could be set to private for security reasons.

10.      Notify Your Customers. Set up a Twitter feed for the specific purpose of notifying customers when new products come in. Customers can subscribe via mobile or RSS for instant notification. Twitter can also be used to provide mini-updates for one-on-one clients.

11.      Take Notes. Twitter provides you with an easy way to record important ideas or concepts you want to explore further. Include links relevant to ideas you want to explore. Note taking can also be done offline via mobile applications.

12.      Event Updates. Businesses can use Twitter as a means to inform event participants and latest event happenings/changes. This is a hassle-free way of disseminating information, especially when you don’t have the means to set up a direct mobile link between you and the audienc

13.      Find Prospects. Twitter can be used as a means to find potential customers or clients online. Do a search for keywords related to your product on Twitter Search and then follow users. Tweet about topics parallel to your product and close prospects away from public channels by using direct messages or offline communications. Discretion and skill is needed in this area.

14.      Provide Live coverage. Twitter’s message size limit prevents detailed coverage of events but it can allow you to provide real-time commentary which may help to spark further discussion or interest on the event as other Twitter users spread the message. Very useful for citizen journalism.

15.      Time Management and Analysis. Twitter can simply be used to keep a detailed record of what you are doing every daily. This might be boring for others but this type of usage is useful when you want to analyze how you spend and manage your time.

16.      Set Up Meetings. Twitter can help you organize impromptu meetups. For example, you can twitter a message while at a cafe, event or art gallery and arrange to meet fellow users at a specific spot. It’s an informal and casual way of arranging a meeting.

17.      Acquire Votes. Send a link to your stories you’ve submitted in other social news sites like Digg. Sometimes your followers will vote up the stories because they agree with it. This allows you to acquire more support for your efforts on other social media websites.

Above is the best introduction that we have found on the web to introduce the business world to the social world of Twitter.  I hope it helps you out because we look forward to learning more about your business (and what you ate for breakfast) 140 characters at a time!

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8Jan
Pareto PrincipleEngage the Pareto Principle: To Multiply Your Revenue by 16 Times!

Engage the Pareto Principle: To Multiply Your Revenue by 16 Times!

ParetoPrincipleQuotes

Wow, that sure sounds great, but can it become a reality for my company and me? You bet, as long as every day we engage in activities that produce great returns on our invested time. The same can be said for not making productive use of our time. When the Pareto Principle is applied correctly, the net results on the time invested are 16 times more productive. Let me walk you through this simple process to show you how you can increase your productivity. First, let’s take a look at where this principle got started.

Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula in 1906 to explain the unequal distribution of wealth in his country. He believed that 20 percent of the people controlled 80 percent of the wealth. As his theory became more accepted and was applied to explain other daily events, it became known as the Pareto Principle – Pareto’s Law or the 80/20 rule.

Think about how this principle applies to aspects of your daily life. Would you believe that you wear 20 percent of your clothing 80 percent of the time? Or that 80 percent of your e-mails go to 20 percent of the people in your address book? Did you know that 80 percent of America’s food is grown by 20 percent of its farmers?

Do you realize that 20 percent of your clients generate 80 percent of your company’s revenue? 

Learn how to engage this principle in your marketing and advertising activity to maximize revenue. Let me show you an example of how you can increase your company’s revenue 16-fold. Let’s say you need to accomplish 10 activities in a week to earn $1,000. We know from Pareto’s Principle that 20 percent (two activities out of the 10) will generate 80 percent of your weekly income, or $800. Conversely, 80 percent of your activities will only generate 20 percent of your income.  

Activity Weekly Income Generated Goal: $1,000 per Week
1 $25 Eliminate or Outsource
2 $25 Eliminate or Outsource
3 $25 Eliminate or Outsource
4 $400 Priority Activity
5 $25 Eliminate or Outsource
6 $25 Eliminate or Outsource
7 $400 Priority Activity
8 $25 Eliminate or Outsource
9 $25 Eliminate or Outsource
10 $25 Eliminate or Outsource

If you have two activities worth $400 each and eight worth $25 each, focus on those that produce the highest income. Forget the $25 activities and focus on the big ones. When you double your time spent on the $400 activities, you can triple or even quadruple your income. Find out which of your activities are giving you diminished returns. It does not serve you well to allocate the same amount of time to all of them. If you must complete those lesser income-producing tasks, outsource, barter, hire or partner with people who can do them for you.

Find your highest income-producing activity.

Marketing and selling products better than your competition leads directly to success and greater income. You can attract more customers and expand relationships with current customers when you employ proven marketing principles and put the correct systems in place. You or someone in your company must be savvy about effective marketing techniques and how to engage the Pareto Principle to multiply your income potential. If this is not your area of expertise, bring in a marketing consultant who can get you on track toward multiplying your revenue.

Your challenge is to do more of what you do well (activities that generate greater income) and less of what does not earn the revenue you desire. When you focus on what you do best, you will be more productive, feel more accomplished and generate more revenue – even 16 times more.

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10Jan

Success Starts with a Great Plan!

Success Starts with a Great Plan!

Too many people think strategic business and marketing planning is something only meant for big businesses. The fact is that every business can reap the benefits by taking the time to construct an effective business and marketing plan. By clearly understanding both concepts, a business has the potential to reach its goals. It is important to have this sound strategic foundation to carry out necessary actions in a way that makes sense. Sticking to a strategic plan can increase available resources like time and money. If your company adheres to its plan instead of always trying new techniques, you will gain the ability to test and measure each phase of your plan. Testing and measuring your results reduces the chances of throwing money away on practices you hope might work.

BUSINESS PLAN:

A business plan is the foundation on which to establish and grow a business. It serves as an essential tool for companies to map out goals and mission statements for internal use, as well as for viewing the business through an investor’s eyes. Whether you are planning on starting a landscaping business and are looking into using landscape software to help grow your business or are thinking of opening a bakery and want to create a website, write it down in your business plan. At least this way, you’ll have a goal to work towards, along with a solution. When it comes to your business, it is good to find solutions to a problem before they happen. A business plan will provide a logical framework within which a business can develop and pursue business strategies. It can serve as a basic discussion with third parties such as shareholders, agencies, banks and investors. A business plan also offers a benchmark against which actual performance can be measured and reviewed
This plan does not consist of day-by-day detail. Instead, it contains components of mission and vision statements, your economic resources, business prospects and goals. But it is important to look into how you can prevent and solve any potential issues that may occur within your business. One way to do this is by making sure you have the right insurance for your business. For any business, you can get public liability insurance from Tradesman Saver, as some accidents can be unavoidable. There are many situations where public liability would be necessary. It is important to take every factor into consideration. No matter that industry you aim to work in, a business plan is essential. From looking into using outsourced CFO services, to thinking of ways of how you can build your social media platforms, every aspect of your business needs to be considered, in order for it to run effectively. Evaluate and change your plan as much as you want.


MARKETING PLAN:

A marketing plan is a written document that details the necessary actions needed to achieve a company’s marketing objectives. The essence of this process moves from general to specific and from the overall objectives of the organization down to the individual action plan for a part of a marketing program. A good marketing action plan contains specific day-by-day marketing activities. It should include a definitive description of your customers, market size, characteristics, growth prospects, trends and sales potential per product/service category.

STEPS:

(1) Evaluate market and competition. Consider brand names, service levels, price positioning, distribution channels, technology, personnel and leadership. Research competitors’ strengths and weaknesses to determine your competitive advantage.

(2) Identify the ideal client. Determine the demographics and psychographics of your ideal client.

(3) Set marketing strategy. Determine specific marketing objectives and goals. What does your business want to accomplish through marketing.

(4) Plan your marketing mix. Put together a blend of four key marketing initiatives:
Product and Service .Consider the features and benefits you want to offer and how they will satisfy customer’s needs.
Pricing. Explore your pricing structure in relation to demand as well as the ideal client’s evaluation of your price and their ability to purchase),
Marketing Channels. Plan your distribution based on availability, future developments and innovation.
Promotion. Determine a budget; construct promotional objectives and strategies utilizing advertising, personal selling and a set promotional schedule).

(5) Evaluate results and make adjustments. Obtain feedback and evaluate success based on previous goals and make adjustments to try to gain the best results from your plan.

During this process, it is important to continue to do Step 1 and make adjustments accordingly. The market is constantly changing along with the economy technology. Keeping up with the times can give you the edge over your competition.
STRATEGIC PLANNING

Strategic planning is matching the strengths of your business to available opportunities. By determining your company’s strengths and weaknesses, you will gain a clear understanding of what you want your business and marketing plans to achieve. Having solid marketing and business plans provides the foundation your business needs to achieve its goals.

John Bernhoft – Principal

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