A good marketing plan should not allow for too much flexibility. After all, the plan is created to be followed. If you want changes, make them before you write the plan. And never forget – especially when you first show the plan to your people — you must commit yourself to the plan. If you do, you’re a leader. If you don’t, you’re a charlaton posing as a leader. When you’ve positioned your business with a marketing plan, what do you do next? You develop a creative plan that explains what your marketing will say—what the message is. Finally, you should create a media plan that provides exact media details: costs, names of newspapers, TV stations or radio stations, dates and sizes of ads, frequency of advertising, advertising specialties to be employed, contacts for obtaining free publicity, online marketing strategy, and the identity of your business. Are creative strategies based on noble causes successful? In one survey, 83 percent of shoppers said they had changed brands based solely on environmental concerns, and 80 percent of shoppers said a company’s environmental reputation is important. Consumers even said they’d pay a premium for green products. Along with this public and corporate conscientiousness, we see a strong move toward products stamped “Made in the USA,” primarily among women and older consumers on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Consumers aged eighteen to thirty-five are not as influenced by it, having grown up with foreign-made products in their homes. Retailers report that “Made in America” promotions of apparel made domestically increase sales from 25 to 50 percent. These are numbers to be taken seriously. And so should cause-related marketing.
A word of caution: be wary about basing your creative strategy on rapid societal changes that are more anecdotal than factual. The guerrilla is alert but knows the difference between a real change and a media-perceived change. You’ve established a marketing plan that describes how you’ll promote your earning endeavor. You have a creative plan that dictates your message and your identity. You have a media plan that explains exactly where you’ll spend your money. Now, if you put the rest of your earning act in order—the financial side, management, legal issues, accounting, the ability to offer a lot of quality in either your products or your services, the appropriate technology, and the right mental attitude—you can start earning money.
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