This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of Business Central Magazine. https://issuu.com/businesscentral/docs/bc_jf21_web_linked/22
Though times of change are inevitable, they have obviously been especially challenging all throughout 2020. As a small business owner, a parent of school-aged kids, and an active member of our community, I empathize with that fully. While not easy, it is important to take change in stride and adapt as much as possible. When it comes to an organization’s Marketing Strategy, that same philosophy applies. The beauty of a well-planned Marketing Strategy is that it’s flexible enough to accommodate unforeseen challenges, and solid enough to help your business weather the storm and succeed in spite of it. In reality, this is a crucial time to make a concerted effort to connect with your market, keeping your business front and center. If you don’t have an official Marketing Strategy in front of you, now is an essential time to create one, preferably with the help of a marketing partner who will take the time to get to know you enough to be able to offer customized recommendations and solutions. Building a Marketing Strategy during “times of change” may seem daunting, but if you do nothing, you can’t expect anything in return. It’s best to jump right in and tailor it to where you are now, while noting the long-term direction you want your business to grow in. The initial outline doesn’t have to be elaborate, and can even be as simple as exploring a few key questions, such as these:
- Consider your niche or specialty—what is it that you want people to know you for, and what do you do best?
- Identify your competition—who near you provides a similar service?
- Name your ideal client or customer—otherwise known as your target audience. This is who you need to be talking to.
- Define a budget—the sky’s the limit when it comes to ideas, but knowing what you’ve got to work with in the money department will make the dollars you have work as hard as possible.
- Outline your plan of action—decide what you’re promoting, how you’ll do it, and who you need to help you get your message out there. Now is the time to enlist the talents of your marketing partner, if you haven’t already.
- Monitor and reflect—layers of marketing are the best course of action, so that you get in front of the right people repeatedly. If you can measure your ROI, you should. If concrete numbers aren’t feasible, as is the case many times in advertising, reflect on how close you’re getting to those goals we talked about in the beginning.
- Adjust as needed along the way—including who you’re talking to, what platforms you’re most active on, where your audience is now, the frequency of your marketing action, and consider ways to give back when you can.
One thing we always keep in mind at our agency, is the bigger picture—your business plan of action, your main objective of where you want to be, and your vision of how to get there. No matter how the world changes around us, it is vital to stay focused on making your marketing goals happen. Ultimately, they may unfold a little differently than originally planned, but as long as we keep moving forward, that’s okay. Carrie Karki is the President and Founder of WhiteBox Marketing, a full-service marketing agency located in downtown St. Cloud, providing everything from Marketing Strategy and Creative Campaigns to Websites and Digital Marketing.