Developing Your Marketing Plan: Why One Size Doesn't Fit All
When you’ve poured your heart and soul into opening your own business, when it begins to take off, it’s not just exciting - it’s overwhelming. How do you grow your business and reach more customers without impacting the quality of the product or service you’re delivering? How can you offer more but not impact productivity? Expansion can mean hiring more employees or adding space and equipment to accommodate the larger scale of operations. At the same time, your business's marketing efforts will also need to expand. Even if you’re actively growing your customer base--whether through tactics like flyers and brochures or through digital efforts like social media--it’s important to have a plan for your marketing efforts that can keep up with your business growth. It doesn’t need to be difficult; here are a few suggestions to set up a marketing plan that will lead you down the road to success, no matter how quickly your business expands.
Allow for your target market to grow. Even if your clientele centers around a small geographic area initially, it can still grow to encompass entire regions of the country--if not the whole nation. Search marketing efforts (SEO) should have a blueprint that is scalable to an audience of any size.
Maximize the data market analytics provide. To create effective marketing plans, you will need to identify what’s already working, and where there is room for improvement. This can involve analyzing data to see which social media posts are attracting engagement, which landing pages are leading to sales, and other quantifiable aspects of your marketing efforts. The secret to properly managing this data is establishing an effective system before the volume of data multiplies as your business grows.
- Consider paying for services. Regardless of how you market your business, you will need to consider budgeting and staffing for expanded outreach as your business grows. It is unlikely you will have the means to hire a marketing team full-time while your business is in its early stages. Outsourcing the work to professionals specializing in contract projects will offer you flexibility as your business expands.
Delegate as much as you can.
Whether you are outsourcing social media marketing, leaving advertising in a creative agency's hands, or directing a tech-savvy employee to handle SEO efforts, putting a scalable marketing plan into action requires a willingness to delegate responsibilities within your own business operations. This will allow you to remain focused on the bigger picture while your trusted employees manage what may ultimately become a time-consuming aspect of the company.
It’s important to be prepared for expansion. By having a scalable marketing plan in place from the start, you’ll be well positioned to reach your goals of business growth and success.
MICHELLE VAN SLYKE | Columnist | Vice President of Marketing and Sales, The UPS Store
Michelle Van Slyke joined The UPS Store, Inc., in November 2010 as vice president of marketing. Van Slyke spent the first 15 years of her career at Ford Motor Company, holding positions such as corporate advertising manager, global process and strategy manager and vice president of marketing for Jaguar. Past positions include vice president of marketing at Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai Motor America. More recently, Van Slyke was chief marketing officer at Jacuzzi Group Worldwide and Raley's. Van Slyke holds a bachelor's degree from University of Southern California and a master's degree in business administration from University of Notre Dame.