Marketing Planning – Why Should I Do It and Where Do I Start?

The beginning is the most important part of the work.  Plato

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.  Benjamin Franklin

Plans are nothing; planning is everything.   Dwight D. Eisenhower

So let me ask you a question… Would you go on a trip to a new place without pulling out a map or going online to see how to get there? Or for you techno-savvy people, at least stop long enough to program your destination into your GPS thing-a-ma-jiggy?

My point is…and I do have one…is most of you reasonable people would do at least a little bit of planning to get to your desired destination…you know you would.

The same goes for how to best promote your business…you need to do a marketing plan to get you moving in the right direction.

To create your marketing plan, you should start with these items:

  • A calendar
  • A list of any products or services you want to promote, in priority order.
  • Your “Ideal Customer” profile, which includes: Age, Gender, Income & Education Level, Primary Geographic Region, and any other Lifestyle indicators. (Ex. Hobbies, interests, etc.)
  • Your budget - what you feel comfortable spending per month or quarter

Just start with the next 90 days, and make at least 1 goal for each month of that quarter for your business. Then make at least 3 marketing action items to help make each goal happen. That will help you determine how much it’s going to cost...of either your money or your time or both.



Objective:   New product line to be available for the holidays.

(You already know your target is 90% of your current customers.)

Sept Goal:   Announce this to your customers, vendors, staff and friends

Budget:       Less than $1000


Action #1:   You could start with one element like a nice colorful “Coming Soon” display in your store now to pique interest from your current customers, get your staff talking about it, and even start take names and pre-orders if that’s helpful to guarantee your sales. A nice display can be a big part of your budget right there, but well worth it.


Action #2:   Then you add it to your email newsletter and or direct mail piece that goes out to your loyal customers, vendors, friends, and let them know about it. Give them a “preview” price or deal to get them excited about it, as well as inviting them to share the deal w/their friends. Email is usually less expensive compared to direct mail, but a good newsletter still takes yours or someone else’s time to put together, and there’s the cost to send it out, depending on how many you send. (You can always send out a direct mail version in the next month or two, closer to the holidays.)


Action #3:   Now add it to your Facebook page, mentioning something about it at least 1x a week on your page, from releasing preview images, to reviews about the product, to the great special deals you’re offering loyal customers. And for now, Facebook is still free. J

So there you go… you’re off and running and you haven’t even put the product on the shelf yet.

You can look at doing more of the same in October and November, plus adding some targeted paid advertising as needed. Also think about having some sort of “holiday event” where you can really show off the product and have it featured in a gift basket or wrapped package, and ready for the holidays.

NOTE: Make sure you WRITE DOWN your goals and set dates in your calendar for all your action items. My mother always told me you won’t get anywhere with your goals if you don’t write them down…and she was right.

Good Luck & Happy Planning! J