Creating and developing a small business marketing plan takes real commitment. Whether it be a small business or a multinational firm, marketing, public relations, branding and advertising are more than catchy phrases used to make employees feel good about themselves. They are all an integral part of business success, or, they can contribute to business failure.
On average, businesses set aside 7-10% of their gross revenues for "advertising/marketing." When the economy gets tough, however, that percentage drops dramatically and is often the first line item to be slashed in a corporate budget. Successful businesses and true entrepreneurs believe their external marketing plan to be a communication tool to reach existing customers as well as prospective customers and to cut off that line of communication is tantamount to a married couple refusing to talk to one another - the aggregate result is always disaster.
The bottom line is that there are three primary reasons to create a marketing plan and to stick to it:
1. To bring in new customers. If a business owner can't understand this concept, he/she probably shouldn't be in business to begin with.
2. To encourage existing customers to return. Once the relationship is established, it's critical to maintain that relationship, nurture it and treasure the relationship.
3. To increase employee/brand confidence. Employees can be one of the greatest marketing tools in a marketing plan. Happy, confident employees are productive employees.
To illustrate a point, let's see if you can recognize the following and identify the corresponding company:
"I'm Lovin' It"
"Have It Your Way"
"Like A Good Neighbor..."
"Taste the Rainbow"
"Think Outside the Bun"
"The Quicker Picker-Upper"
"I Don't Want To Grow Up, I'm A..."
The companies above committed themselves to a campaign for just that reason - for you to remember them to create top-of-the-mind awareness. And yes, these campaigns were expensive, but the aggregate result speaks for itself. These companies have learned early on that a commitment to a marketing plan requires sacrifice, diligence creativity. They have established a synergy between their radio, print, television, Internet and social media networks in such a way that even the smallest business in the smallest town can emulate. While your company may not have millions of dollars for an advertising budget, you can still be creative and get the most out of your marketing budget and increase your bottom line.
All it takes is commitment and a willingness to take a few small risks. Are you committed?
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