Posted: Mon 4th Oct 2021
With over 40 years of experience under his belt, marketing expert and popular Enterprise Nation adviser Andrew Batty talks through five ways you can create an effective marketing plan.
Andrew’s insights were unleashed during one of Enterprise Nation’s daily Lunch and Learn sessions, all of which can be accessed here.
How to create a marketing plan
As a small business, it’s crucial to nail your marketing. With smaller budgets in play and the need for frugality and efficiency, creating a high-quality marketing plan which will hopefully see a solid return on investment can be a daunting prospect.
Andrew Batty, MD of Creative Marketing Services, a Leeds-based agency who cover a wide range of areas in the world of marketing—from branding to strategy to implementation—gave something of a masterclass in a recent Lunch and Learn.
Andrew Batty’s five ways you can create an effective marketing plan:
Identify your product or service
Specify target demographics
Determine your competitors and compete against them
Maintain cost effectiveness
1) Identify your product or service
First and foremost, it’s crucial to define exactly what your product or service is and work out its strengths and weaknesses.
How will people purchase the product? Will they access it through an office or your website? Will you be selling to retailers or the trade?
The key, however, is to be clear in what value your small business provides. When it comes to creating a marketing plan, bringing a product or service to the table with a very defined value will help you get to the point quickly and effectively.
One area of any small business that Andrew believes requires particular care is the website: “[it’s] is the foundation stone of any marketing you’ll be doing.”
In marketing, corners simply can’t be cut with the website - going for a cheap site might be tempting, but it’s unlikely to drive sufficient business; “[the] budget for [your] site needs to be around £3-4K, and if it’s e-commerce, it needs about £5.5k.”
You want to have a product and website to be proud of, so give it the requisite care.
2) Specify target demographics
It might sound obvious, but drawing up a list of clients and picturing their key characteristics will form the backbone of your marketing plan, and it’s a consideration overlooked by some.
What age are your target demographic? Where are they based? What interests do they possess? This will dictate the language you use within your marketing plan, so you are able to communicate on their level.
While it’s perhaps tough to know where to start on this front, Andrew was keen to stress that “the most valuable thing that you’ll get on your customer journey is first-hand data.”
The more contact details and information you garner from people who buy from you, the more you can tailor marketing strategies to meet their needs – not to mention the relationships you can maintain to ensure repeat custom!
3) Provide value
“You sell the product benefits, not the product.”
This is arguably the key takeaway from Andrew’s session. Nobody out there is waiting for your product or service to drop into their lap, so convince prospective customers they NEED it.
For example, advertising a dishwasher as a metal cabinet that sprays water on plates is unlikely to get people hammering your front door down – it’s about making it clear what this dishwasher does for your lifestyle. It’s fair to say he has a way with words…
By now, it became quite clear why Andrew and his services enjoy a lot of repeat business. Too often, small businesses have a fantastic product or service at their fingertips, with a target demographic identified, and yet the inability to clearly, concisely and cleverly show off its benefits proves more than troublesome.
4) Determine your competitors and compete smartly against them
Once competitors are identified and you’re drawing up a marketing battleplan, it’s all about being smart.
If you are trying to compete with a small business that is operating in the same geographical area as you and targeting the same demographic of potential customer, how do you circumnavigate them?
Advertising on local Facebook groups, for instance, can be an incredibly powerful and cost-effective way to advertise within certain areas – so long as you have checked with the moderator and don’t resort to spam!
Towards the end of Andrew’s Lunch and Learn, he was asked about advertising on public transport and whether that’s still a viable medium for gaining potential advantages over competitors.
Ultimately, it’s about providing the “right message for the right medium”, and if that’s achieved, then it can translate to positive results.
Wordy adverts which are jam-packed with information can work well on the inside of a train carriage or on panels across a tube track—because the subject is often sedentary or unmoving—but doing so on the back of a bus or within escalator screens, where eyes and attention need to be instantaneously caught, will see your advertising budget put to very poor use indeed.
If you’re battling amongst a competitive field, do what you can to secure those small wins.
5) Maintain cost effectiveness
For small business owners with budgets that are deemed relatively skinny, Andrew has some good news for you: “anyone can achieve success by throwing huge amounts of money at something, the thing you have to do is think a little cleverer than the competition. Whatever money you do invest, you should tread slowly.”
Analysing results is ultimately just as important as pulling the trigger on an initial marketing plan, so taking the time to see what works in order to temper future campaigns is a smart way of operating.
Sometimes, it’s not about how you can keep costs to a minimum, but instead how you can use your budget smartly (yes, it’s that buzzword again!).
A budget of £15k for example, could be put towards a mightily effective television advertising campaign. The world of television advertising has changed; selecting minority channels with very specific demographics of viewers (ITVBe and the History channel being two contrasting examples) can ensure your adverts reach a particular type of viewer.
Furthermore, utilising AdSmart—which only plays your advert when your selected audience are watching, while you only have to pay if at least 75% of the ad is watched—is a way in which your budget can be spent as efficiently as possible, while still targeting the right people.
Of course, Andrew’s seminar is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of creating a marketing plan, so be sure to connect with him for more business support in this area and many more besides.