Friday, 28 November 2014

Marketing Plan... it's not such a monster.

"Marketing Plan" is term used widely and with varying definition. The resulting lack of clarity on what a Marketing Plan actually is, tends to preserve it in the domain of the "Marketing Experts".  That said, uncovering the mystery of the "Marketing Plan" is easy to do and is a must for any business to survive and grow.

In my reading and listening to recognised experts, other marketers and business people of experience, I've come to realise that there is a big difference between a Marketing Plan and a Marketing Campaign.

A Marketing Plan is really a subsection or variation (depending on who you ask) of a Business Plan, covering and combining many aspects of the business, the product and the market.  I'm not going re-invent that wheel here. There is a very comprehensive template available here at This is important stuff, but many business owners tend to skip the Business/Marketing Plan because of the time-cost and the fact they intuitively have enough of the information "up there" in their heads to get business happening at a basic level.  In many cases, the Marketing Plan only comes out when the business owner wants finance up, or to sell up. 

A Marketing Campaign, on the other hand is more of a 'how-to-do'. And for most people, it's more fun... like a game. It represents challenges with strategy, decisions, actions, outcomes and ideally... rewards.  This is more my world!

Starting with the end in mind (always a good start), the object of this game is to increase sales volume.  Maximising profitability was part of the previous tasks of the Business & Marketing Plans (which also covered basics such as: client profiles, demographics, seasonal factors, popular trends etc.). The stuff you determined there will enable you to design the best Campaign possible.

The activities that make up any Marketing Campaign will vary greatly across different business, but will generally be drawn from a familiar list that includes;

  • Mainstream Advertising:  Signage, Printed media, TV & Radio, Sponsorship
  • Directory Advertising:  Business directories, printed and online
  • Direct mail: Targeted recipients, or geographical mass mail-outs
  • Online Advertising: Pay-Per Click Ads, Banner advertising
  • Online Marketing: Your business website, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Social Media/Blogging: Essentially a form of online word-of-mouth or "Guerrilla" marketing
  • Door to Door: Being there personally, to assist your customer/prospective customer.
  • Promotional Events: Exhibitions, Competitions, Give-aways, Seminars
At the end of the day, it's all about knowing what your customer wants and bringing it to them. If you can do that, they'll pay you!  Marketing is the means to that end.

Creating a Marketing Plan and deciding on what Campaigns to employ needn't cost anything more than careful thought. Even if you don't have the cash right now to put it in place, having a plan will help keep you on track to the point when you can. 

How is your Marketing Plan looking?  Is now the time to get it started?  If you'd like some input on how to create a Marketing Plan and/or Campaign for you business, buy me coffee and we'll have a chat :) 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Wish there was such thing as a Sales Magnet?

There is! ...of sorts anyway.

It is the good old magnetic car-door sign that enables you to convert your plain old hack into an executive ambassador for your business with the slap of a vinyl mat.

Magnetic car door signs, Sunshine Coast
The sign might not be very big, but the difference between dis-
playing your business on your car, and not... certainly can be.

But do they really work?  Good question. And the answer will vary according to the context in which it is being asked.

My own vehicle has a full vinyl wrap pretty much. Which is great for me. I'm really going for a theme with the whole car.  Of course, a door sign won't have the same impact as a wrap, but for many businesses the less-is-more approach is a better look and a far more convenient choice. And what's more, at a tenth of the price.

Regardless of how big your vehicle signage is, experience has led me to understand that it will probably not create a massive increase of sales enquiries in its own right.

What it will acheive though, are three very important things;
  1. Impression: In the mind of your potential customer, a well-designed vehicle sign will create an impression that you are an effective provider, before you've even begun a conversation with them. Starting a conversation on the assumption of quality
    and professionalism is a huge advantage in your aim to convert an enquiry to a new sale.
  2. Familiarity:  Your potential customer may have seen your vehicle signage some time before their first enquiry was made.  Familiarity is something that all people find fundamentally comforting.  If your customer is comfortable with your business, they will buy from your business.
  3. Advertising: Following on from Familiarity, having your business displayed on your car helps to establish your business in terms of local identity.  People in your local area will read the sign when they first see it as a matter of subconscious curiosity. Then when they see it again, they will subconsciously index your business as part of their local community.  They may not need your service for some time, but when they do... there's a good chance they'll be giving you a call (that is, as long as you didn't give them the finger when they cut-in-front of you last May !) 
How much do magnetic car door signs cost? Competition in the printing & promotion industry nowadays means that a glossy full-colour set of door-magnet signs can be had so cheaply now, there is really no reason not to have them.  If you're considering a set, give me a shout. We'll have your doors all dressed up in a week!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Where's the Ka-Boom!?

Lime Dezign is not really a business. Its current form would be more accurately described as a term of self-employment. Which is cool with me for now.

I had a crack at running to a small business model a few years back, but it didn't fly for long. I guess for a first go it didn't do too badly; especially when I realise now how short I was on resources and experience.  But with Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III, and still the desire to transform to a true small business, I'm still excited at the possibilities about me now, and those that lay ahead.

Why exactly didn't it fly before? Well, I could say there were some circumstantial factors that contributed, the work "dried up" and I couldn't sustain.  But behind all that was another cause; I was too busy paying bills and wasn't investing enough time in growing the business. Which is kind of ironic since my job is helping others grow theirs.

I've always been to scared to take the time out. There's always been something else that "needed" to be done first.  I unwittingly put my own business on the back-burner! After a particularly stressful period a couple of months back, and a BAS return that actually made me feel ill, I eventually woke up with a jolt and realised where I'd been misplacing my energies.

It is now 6 weeks since I made a firm decision to dedicate 1 day per week to growing Lime Dezign from essentially self-employment, into the business I've always wanted it to be.  That's a big chunk... 20% of my time budget!  So far, I've stuck to it.

And you know what? Lime Dezign is running better now than it has in quite some time.  Not because I've got more work; it's still about the same.  But because the work is getting done more efficiently, I have more energy, my focus is improved and my enthusiasm is higher again.  Jobs are out on time (at least from my desk... dealing with some printers' excuses is a whole other party trick sometimes!), and I'm finally making really good progress on the developments I promised I'd do 2 years ago!

One day a week is a big portion, and at the moment my little business is really benefitting from that.  The amount of time experts recommend for growth activity varies, and probably not all businesses need the same anyway.

I guess I just wanted to share my current experience which may encourage anyone else who might also have felt trapped in the output-priority scenario.  And I also know from experience, a little encourage often goes a long way.

Back to

Friday, 7 November 2014

Silly Season. Quiet Season.

Unless your business is selling back-to-school stuff, you will very likely know what I'm talking about all too well.  That mad work-rush up to Christmas, then... nothin'...  or next to it, for sometimes a couple of months.

It's a typical boom-bust cycle.  At the end of the year, most of us are so pre-occupied making deadlines that we neglect our marketing and business development even more so that usual. Then comes the silence of January and we try not to freak out too much.

Maybe you've done things differently this year and taken steps to generate new enquires and sales through this quietest of periods. Well done! Leave a comment if you have. I love that proactive idea stuff.!

If you haven't, there isn't much time left.  Maybe it isn't too late. It will depend on the business and the strategy.  All is not lost though. Even if things do quieten off in the new year, it will make for more opportunity to dedicate some time to tuning up your business and getting your marketing plan renewed and implemented. In up-coming posts I'll be featuring a great article on how to get a really simple and effective marketing plan happening.

Do you have some marketing ideas on the back-burner?  If you do, give me a call or drop me an email and let's get that ball rolling (or at least line it up).

Back to