6 easy steps to planning your marketing

Posted on December 4th, 2013 | Tags: Design, Marketing, Tips and Tricks

Recently I’ve been dealing with a several customers who have wanted to have quick response with their marketing to an external event. In couple of those cases we could not do it. We were able to produce material to tie in to it, but not as timely as we would have like it to have been. The reason why we were not able to meet the time frame simply because it takes time to properly prepare marketing if you want it to be done right and to make the best use of your advertising dollar. So  how do you plan ahead for your marketing and have it able to respond to an event at a moments notice.

Step 1 – Work out when you, and others, are busy and quiet

I’ve talked about this in my article 365 Days of Marketing and When to Time your Flyer Promotion but in the nutshell you should set your main marketing ‘cycle’ to match the cycle of demand. Have your reminders about you and your business to go out when demand for your services is high and do the deals when the demand  is low to bring more people in. Then make a note of when your suppliers and support business are unavailable. This is more than just when places close down for Christmas and New Year. Every business will have periods of when they are not operating or have a low support times to manage their own  business and you have to factor that into yours if you want to make sure you can get what need when you need it.

Step 2 – Decide when your marketing will be most effective.

I’ve already covered this in When to Time your Flyer Promotion. It is far better to have 5 promotions when you know you are going have maximum response, than to do 15 and have most of them misfire. Look at not only what has worked for you in the past but when it has worked for your competitors as well.

Step 3 – Flesh out a forward-look calendar

Not only does your business have cycles, but our economy does too.  There are seasons, public holidays, special events and other seasonal activities that you can tie into.  In fact, research suggests that if you have a reason for a sale or promotion, it will do better than if you don’t have a reason.

Now sit down with a planner or calendar and look at your year.  Do you have too many promotional events close together?  Big spaces between events?  If you do a monthly newsletter (if not, why not?) do you have a special offer for each issue planned?  Flesh out the plan as far in advance as you can – you can always revise it later, but you’ll be glad that you did.

Step 4 – Build in lead times

Good design takes time. While using templates and boilerplate content will speed up the process, you want to review and fine tune each piece of marketing material before  it goes out based on the feedback about the previous ones. So give yourself time to do that. Physical production takes time too, the fancier the product, the more labour involved and the more time it will take to produce. Here at Copy Express we have the goal of having most standard work done in 2 business days or less, only adding extra time if there is more finishing involved. When we outsource it to specialists, that adds more time you have to allow for. If you want to do a mailbox or targeted marketing, factor in time for the packaging and distribution, as well as when the deliverers do their drop off.

So start with the publication date and work backwards to create your production timeline.  Build in buffer time as well.  Don’t forget to allow time for weekends, public holidays, review, and shipping.  Remember that not everyone will be able to adhere to your ideal schedule, so don’t set it as the “best case scenario” – be reasonable

Step 5 – Have both targeted and generic material ready to go

Once you have planned your marketing schedule and set up your house brand, the creation of the marketing material is quite simple. On top of the normal targeted marketing to draw the people in when you want them, you should design a few generic marketing items that doesn’t have a fixed window of opportunity. These can be printed and stored ready to go at a moments notice allowing you to quickly respond to your competition or to events that can boost your business.

Step 6 – Review and get feedback from clients

The final step in this process is to review what has gone out and track the responses to it. Not just in sales numbers but talk to your customers and find what they liked and disliked about the marketing. With plenty of lead time and use of templates it will make it easy to update and make more responsive to your customers.

There you go. Six easy steps to make your marketing planning easier. Still having problems in figuring out what will work for you, then book a time us at Copy Express so we can help you get the most of your marketing.