How to Sabotage Your Marketing Plan

Every successful business is defined by an effective marketing plan. Without some kind of marketing strategy a business is without direction. An important component of any business strategy is defining exactly how your business intends to attract customers to its goods or services. This is the key to every profitable business.

Marketing plans are the calculated parameters within which a company takes specifically planned actions to create an awareness and demand for a particular commodity.

What we want to address here today are 5 common mistakes made when developing marketing plans which could render them ineffective.

Lack of Target Marketing

Your product or service probably is not suited for everybody therefore why spend time or money promoting to people with little or no buying potential? It’s important to identify the ideal customer profile when planning your advertising. By using a target marketing approach you are better able to spend your advertising dollars in a way that will be more cost-effective. The net impact will be seen in your profit margins.

Not Knowing Your Numbers

From a financial standpoint it’s an absolute that you know your break even points. According to your projections how much money will it take before you make a profit?

This knowledge will not only help guide you according to your budget constraints but is also an effective tool for measuring your marketing performance.

Lack of Tactical Planning

There’s no doubt that marketing involves a good deal of creative thinking however when planning your tactics creativity should be put aside. A creative idea is one thing and is encouraged, but implementing this idea is a more of a thought out and methodical tactic. Creativity and tactical planning work well together but don’t try to substitute for the other.

Marketing Goes Beyond Advertising

As we’ve mentioned earlier marketing in a very large part is a focus of how to attract customers to your goods and services. One thing that you don’t want to overlook when planning your marketing is how to establish a ‘positive’ company image. Aside from product quality this aspect is just as important when promoting your product. How a company representative portrays themselves or treats a potential customer has much influence on the buying decision.

Forgetting Existing Customers

Existing customers represent a gold mine to most businesses and shouldn’t be forgotten when putting together any marketing strategy. A significant thrust of any marketing campaign is creating new customers but established customers offer a high probability of repeat business. A plan to monetize both new and old customers should therefore be established. Failure to do this is like leaving money on the table.

As you can see if your marketing plan is not well thought out it could hinder your ambitions to having a successful business. An integral component of any business strategy is the planned and deliberate process of attracting customers to your product. Your marketing strategy is where you define how you intend to actually interact with potential buyers in order to generate any profit. If your marketing plan is in someway left incomplete you are at risk of losing customers needed to make your business profitable.

Social Media Marketing is Attracting Offline Interest

As social media marketing continues to grow in popularity online it has managed to capture the attention of the offline community as well. In many boardrooms, more serious consideration is being given to social marketing as part of the overall marketing strategy.

The phenomenal success this type of internet advertising has achieved is hard to argue or ignore.

Current marketing strategies still find ‘conventional’ advertising approaches being utilized such as television, radio and print. However with the cost efficient and highly effective channels online social media offers these ‘conventional’ offline methods are quickly becoming outdated. The only hurdle new online strategies seem to now face for offline application is good old fashion management skepticism.

Here is what likely can be expected in the not too distant future regarding the offline business community’s adaptation to online marketing strategies.

Offline Marketing Budgets at Present

At present time there is little evidence of any significant spending by the mainstream offline business community on any type of internet advertising. It is inevitable however that the recognition of the effectiveness and cost efficiencies of marketing online is soon forthcoming in this area.

Witnessing the recent failures of many long time business giants due in part to their own marketing inefficiencies will only serve as a wake-up call to the rest of the business community. The aftermath of the recent economic downturn will only result in accelerating the shift of marketing strategies to the more effective and efficient avenues available online.

Increase in Online Spending

As offline businesses begin to shift their advertising spending towards the internet social marketing will get much attention due to the viral nature of this particular method.

Marketing online differs from traditional methods insofar as the consumer seeks out information on their own as opposed to having it presented to them. With that said the need for content, and lots of it, exists and must be supplied by the marketer to fill this need. This is crucial for the relationship building that is required to make this type of online marketing approach work.

Online Specialist Will Be Hired

Whether its video, audio, or text the supplied content will inform, entertain, and provoke thought in an effort to capture the attention and loyalty of the online viewer.

Sooner rather than later specialist for content development will have to be added to the staffs of offline businesses involved in online social marketing.

Ad copy and other messages created will be designed to catch viewers attention, initiate and maintain interest, develop trust and loyalty, and make product offers. This type of internet advertising is based more upon ‘relationship marketing’ as opposed to the ‘hard selling techniques’ associated with conventional offline marketing.

The Need for Public Relations will Diminish

Now that more emphasis is placed on searching the internet for breaking news there will be less need for conventional public relation tactics to ‘create awareness.’ The content developed and supplied to the internet will more than fill this gap resulting in cost savings and increased communication efficiencies.

Online Marketing Research will be Emphasized

By utilizing the give and take capabilities of web 2.0 marketing techniques the ability to get valued customer feedback can easily be accomplished. This cost effective and highly efficient means of collecting valuable input online will be a very significant benefit for research and development.

As a result offline efforts to collect similar data will be de-emphasized and regarded now as more cumbersome due to the cost and efforts required.

Social media marketing, as it stands today, continues to demonstrate new efficiencies that increase the effectiveness of communicating with the online consumer. Its popularity and acceptance can no longer be dismissed as a short term phase but rather needs to be recognized for what it is, the evolution of consumer marketing. This will result in a greater acceptance towards using online social media as a permanent fixture in a company’s overall marketing strategy.

Reviving Your Marketing Strategy with Twitter

Is your marketing strategy in need of a boost? Are your current online marketing efforts not getting you where you want to go? Have you considered incorporating some social networking sites into your current marketing mix? If you haven’t you’re missing out on a tremendous source of free traffic for your business.

Nowadays one of the hottest and most talked about social networking sites is Twitter. I’ve been tweeting myself for a few months now and have come to understand why it is so popular. The site is EASY to use and comes with more gadgets and widgets you can use than Mozilla Firefox.

Whether your focus is personal or professional Twitter offers plenty of reason for you to get involved.

From a business standpoint alone this particular social network site can do a lot to bolster your business on or off line.

Let’s look at 5 reasons, to name just a few, why you may want to be posting your first tweet as soon as today!

Ease of Use

You can sign up and be ‘tweeting’ within minutes. The site interface is inviting and user friendly. Any messages sent or received can range from business to social to politics and everything in between.

Abbreviated Messages

The 140 character limit imposed at the site keeps all messages succinct and to the point. Believe me learning to shorten a ‘complete’ thought into 140 characters can be challenging at first but it CAN be done.

It is always good when you can say more in fewer words. Especially if you do a lot of composing in your line of work

Free Traffic

By participating in the conversations and strategically interjecting a subtle plug for your business periodically you can generate a lot of free traffic to your site.

One thing I have noticed is that many members consistently use software that automatically post their messages on the site. One must be careful however to rely upon this method too heavily. Overuse of this type of approach will be noticed by ‘participating’ members who then tend to ignore this spam after a while.

Increases Internet Presence

For people involved in online marketing Twitter gives them a chance to gain additional exposure around the internet. Whether it’s a product they may be promoting or perhaps themselves social networking sites like this are a great way to develop name or brand recognition. By connecting with folks who have similar interests or a need for what it is you’re promoting you are creating a ‘buzz’ within a circle that will likely help spread the word for you. The viral marketing effect you experience is much better advertising than anything you may pay for since this audience is highly targeted.

Viral Tweeting

When you post a comment at Twitter it is called a tweet. If somebody finds your comment is of value for one reason or another they can then ‘retweet’ it to all their own followers thereby increasing your exposure to a whole new audience. Again we’re looking at the beneficial effect of viral marketing here with just a single ‘retweet’ or your comment!

As you can see with the inclusion of such a site in your current marketing strategy you can literally grow your business overnight. With the right promotional approach and socially acceptable behavior there’s no reason you can’t successfully introduce Twitter into your current marketing mix. What’s holding you back? It’s free, it’s effective, it’s easy, and it’s fun! Heck it can even be used as a marketing research tool!

Information Products – Both Profitable and Affordable

When you stop to consider the many advantages of information products, it’s no wonder countless successful businesses have been built around them. These digital products offer numerous reasons as to why they are so popular not only sell but also to buy.

Due to their popularity and cost efficiency digital type products are widely recognized and utilized in the marketing strategy of many online businesses.

Let’s examine 4 compelling reasons why:

1) The Demand for Information

Stop and consider your own use of the internet and what it is you seek. Sports scores, cold remedies, stock quotes, news, shopping bargains, and the list goes on. Information by and large is generally the object of most searches on the internet. Our addiction for news and information in an increasingly fast moving society is undeniable and the ability of the internet to deliver it to us quickly is widely recognized.

Utilizing these channels for what they’ve already become know for, information, makes complete sense, and of course the information is delivered in a digital form.

2) Cost of Production

The production cost of a information product is minimal. A traditional ‘physical’ product uses materials, has to be mass produced, and requires storage space and this can be costly. Also all this cost is incurred BEFORE the first product is even sold! Additionally there’s no guarantee all products produced will be sold.

A digitally based information product is produced just once, can be stored on your server, and can be sent out an indefinite number of times at virtually little or no cost. These low production cost are conducive to much higher profit margins.

3) Cost of Delivery

Digital products are dispensed over the internet instantly to the customer at little or no cost to either the buyer or seller. Also, the ‘instant gratification needs’ prevalent in most of today’s customer are now being satisfied with the speed of delivery. Finally the shipping and handling costs normally affiliated with a ‘physical’ product have been completely deleted. This results in a welcome boost to the profit margins of these digitally produced products.

4) Pricing

Through the ability to minimize production costs while eliminating storage, shipping, and handling costs, digitally produced products can be priced at very affordable levels. This in turn will broaden the market for potential buyers.

With the price of everything else rising today, the low costs of digital products are a welcome relief to the consumer. Also welcomed are the higher than normal profit margins, as compared to physical products, that these type of products bring.

As you’ve seen, the advantages of using information products upon which to build many online businesses offer several significant advantages. The benefits enjoyed by both buyer and seller alike can’t be ignored and make it difficult to not place these type products under consideration for use in your online marketing strategy today.