How to get your planning for a strategic marketing plan right from the start

This should not be as difficult as it might sound for newcomers to the marketing process to get to grips with.  I’ve chosen to illustrate this post with a picture of roots because the start point for developing a strategic marketing plan is to understand where your business is now, i.e. where you are rooted.  The roots of plants are often longer than the plant is high.  In the same way, it is critical for a new business to spend time to understand your business and your market.  Before diving in with enthusiasm, you need to discover whether there is a market for your product/service, or if the market is already well-served.  Is there any space left for you?  Is there a gap in the market?  If so, is there a market in that gap?  It might be that no-one else is currently providing your product or service; this might be because no-one wants to buy it. That is, there’s no market potential for it.  Before you begin to develop your business you must understand where you currently are with your business.  This process of reviewing your situation is called conducting a MARKETING AUDIT. From there, you can decide where you would like to be and establish the best course of action to achieve your goal.

The Marketing Audit requires that you can clearly answer a series of fundamental questions.  Think of each question as a new root forming in the root network of your business to help its subsequent growth.  First: What business are you in? This question is deceptively easy and can be illuminated with reference to a new client of mine.  Her passion and expertise is for items of art history, which might be pieces of silver or items of furniture.  Would her business be the antique trade, or interior design, or the gift market?  The next question will help to clarify the situation: Which problem will you solve for your customer? You might be offering the market something innovative in terms of the product, place, or promotion.  Who is likely to buy your product or service?  Who else serves this market at present?  Why might they choose to buy from you?  Has your desired market indicated that they have an appetite for your solution?  If not, it is important to conduct some research amongst your potential buyers to identify whether they have a customer need which you can solve for them.  While you conduct your research you can take notes for a SWOT (analysis alongside the consultation period; SWOT stands for Strengths. Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).

What are your strengths and the strengths of your intended market?
What are its weaknesses, its opportunities and its threats?

Opportunities and Threats include those in the wider business and economic environment.  For example, currently there is uncertainty in the UK, thanks to the countdown to Brexit, which is limiting consumer spending and affecting the ambition of small businesses.  The purpose of the SWOT analysis of your market is to identify the potential attractiveness of the market. Once you have established the likely size and potential for your market, you can consider the purpose of your seedling business and encapsulate it in a mission statement.  Here’s mine, for example: “To deliver ideas to grow strong businesses”.

Next, you must identify your business objectives.  Do you have specific financial targets or any soft targets driven by your emotions?  Are there any specific time constraints which will affect your actions?  Estimate expected results from your business activities.  Your marketing strategy should be developed to deliver your business objectives.  When you have completed a thorough marketing audit, you should have developed a strong root system for your business which will allow it to flourish and grow.

If you would like to work with me to produce a creative marketing plan for your business, please book an hour-long appointment at a forthcoming Marketing clinic event at or drop me an email now [email protected]