4 Milestones Your Small Business Marketing Plan Should Include
A marketing plan without milestones is like a race without any checkpoints. Milestones enable entrepreneurs to look back and assess how their business is doing. If your business plan states you’re your website should have 100,000 visitors each month by year 3, but your current visitor count is stuck at 50,000, you know you need to invest more and try different strategies to pull the numbers up.
Any small business marketing plan should include the four milestones given below:
1. Defining key demographics
Who are your real customers?
This isn’t just a rhetorical question; identifying the most lucrative customer demographics is crucial to building a sustainable, effective marketing campaign. You’ll often find that your actual customers turn out to be quite different from the ones you assumed in your initial business plan.
Defining your key demographics is a crucial part of any successful small business marketing plan. You should rely on both data and anecdotal and experiential evidence to identify this metric. Also understand that customer demographics will seldom remain stable. Your brand might be popular with 20-year olds today, but may suddenly see patronage from older audiences. It’s important to continuously review and revise this milestone.
Product pricing can be challenging, but also crucial for business success. Several factors must be considered when pricing your products or services, such as:
- Your current financial resources. A business with significant cash reserves can forego initial profits to build up customer base before raising prices later.
- What kind of upsells can you offer with the product? For example, businesses frequently sell TVs and similar big-ticket electronics for low margins, but make up the lost profits through DVD, Blu-Ray, and cables/wires sales.
- Your current market penetration. Businesses with strong market presence can choose to lower profit margin and compete on volume.
- Brand perception. Luxury brands can usually charge high prices because of strong brand perception.
3. Budgetary constraints
Including budgetary milestones is a crucial part of competent marketing plans. The following should be included in your plan:
- How much money you can set aside each month for marketing. It is important to be flexible about this metric. If you see strong returns on a particular marketing channel, it may be a good idea to divert resources from another department to marketing.
- A complete breakdown of how much you plan to spend on different channels – online, print, direct, TV, radio, etc.
- A thorough analysis of the returns from individual channels. Visit this metric regularly to weed out underperforming campaigns and push campaigns with better returns.
- Besides returns from ad campaigns, your marketing budget should also include resources you spend on brand creation, personnel costs, etc. You can either set a monthly budget cap and build the marketing around it, or choose to employ different marketing methods, calculate returns, and set budgets accordingly.
4. Product strategy
Lastly, your marketing plan should include a thorough examination of your product strategy. Your product, after all, is your most important asset. Highlighting what makes it different should be a top priority for the marketing department. For example: discuss how technological innovations and price point set your product apart.