Via LinkedIn : Recently, I attended a networking meeting where the attendees were invited to share marketing plans for their small businesses for 2015. I was looking forward to this meeting because I thought I might be able to hear some ideas I have never heard before, and also maybe be able to provide some insight for those who are feeling misdirection when it comes to their marketing plan. As we began to go around the group, and the representatives of these small businesses began to divulge their plans for generating relationships with customers this year, I was totally blindsided by the fact that these key playing decision makers have no clear direction of what marketing is and how they’re going to use it to grow their businesses this year.
Marketing is about understanding the people you are trying to reach and how to create relationships with those people. When you ask businesses about their upcoming marketing plans, you may find that a marketing strategy may not be on the top of their to-do list. But it should be. Marketing plans help map out the road for which companies will create customer relationships. And in this era, marketing revolves a lot around creating relationships and connecting by giving your audience the tools they need to achieve their goals. I have mapped out the general direction for my marketing plan for this year, and hope that some people may find it useful.
First and foremost, the most important thing for businesses to include in their marketing plan is marketing research. This step exists to get a clear understanding of customers and competitors, where they get their information, and how you are going to reach them. Since consumer landscapes are ever evolving, and humans are unpredictable creatures, marketing research should be on going. I work for a web developing and internet marketing company. At networking events I always like to ask questions like “If you were looking for a web developer, where would you look first?” “What would your decision to hire be based off of?” “What kind of information can I talk about in my blogs that would be useful to you?”. You get the picture. Basically, the answers to these questions will help me with my content planning and market speak.
Next, I plan to launch an extensive social publishing campaign employing inbound marketing techniques that pull people closer to our brand. Inbound marketing can be done through different communication mediums including blogs, social media, or even well thought out content rich emails that contain industry information valuable to its reader. Publishing rich and engaging content that establishes a human relationship with our clients creates authority and gets them looking forward to hearing from us. Contributing important information that our audience can use will encourage them to become lifelong supporters of our brand.
Amber Waring: Marketing Specialist