Last time in part 11 of the marketing plan series we discussed the Marketing Strategy which is basically the “what” of executing your plan and identifying your goals.
Now, we move on to the Action Plan which covers the “Who, Where and How Much” of your plan. You should look at this section as the “to do list with budget numbers” and separate it into sub-sections or “mini-plans” that are involved in your marketing efforts. They can include but are not limited to the following:
- Publicity Marketing Plan – How do you pitch? I am not talking fastballs, but rather using the media to spread the word about your business. You could also call this mini-plan your media plan and it includes the costs and tasks involved in pitching stories to the press and writing press releases on a consistent basis.
- Customer Marketing Plan – No small business can survive without customers and smart business know that it is FAR cheaper to keep the customers you have than always working to replace them with new ones. This mini-plan talks about what activities you will undertake with your current customers and the types of targeted offers you will be making to retain them.
- Advertising Plan – Now we all know that most traditional advertising is hit or miss and it is hard to track results. However, there are more and more promotional programs that provide you with a way to measure results that you can create a mini-plan of where you are going to advertise and how much of it you will be doing.
- Internet Marketing Plan – Every one these days has a web site. If you don’t and you are small business, then that is another matter. If you are a small business that is actively engaged on the web to promote your products or services then you need to include a separate mini-plan on Internet marketing that could include search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and any other online campaigns.
- Promotional Event Plan – Related to advertising and Internet marketing the promotional event plan includes different promotional activities such as, having sales, sponsoring contests, awards, or events.
- Referral Marketing Plan – All small businesses need referral business. In fact, it is how many survive and even thrive. Here is where you need to identify specific programs that will add incentive for those that value your work enough to tell others about you.
Budgeting – The Bottom Line
We all wish we could do awesome and cool marketing campaigns but we are quickly brought back to reality when the limitations of our budgets are staring us in the face. Small Business Notes provides some great advice on putting together your budget.
Estimate the cost of the marketing activities you’ve described in the marketing plan so you will have a budget to keep everyone on track over the course of the year. Typical marketing expense categories are marketing communications, market research, promotions, advertising, events and public relations.
Because marketing needs and costs vary widely, there are no simple rules for determining what your marketing budget should be. A popular method with small business owners is to allocate a small percentage of gross sales for the most recent year. This usually amounts to about two percent for an existing business. However, if you are planning on launching a new product or business, you may want to increase your marketing budget figure, to as much as 10 percent of your expected gross sales. Another method used by small business owners is to analyze and estimate the competition’s budget and either match or exceed it.