Smart Marketing Basics

Small Business Marketing Plans for 2011

If you are like most small businesses, you have just finished up your third quarter, and getting ready to make the final push through to year end.  A last final sales and marketing push to help you make your numbers, and close those deals that you have been nurturing earlier this year.  While getting your business over the goal line for 2010 is key, that is not the only thing that should be on your mind.  As a business owner or business marketing manager, laying the foundation for 2011 needs to start happening now. 

Like all other aspects of your business, marketing activities need to be planned for.  If you wait for “things to slow down,” or for when you “have some free time”, marketing won’t happen at all.  Effective marketing programs require time to be developed, time to be created, time to prepare your sales and operational teams to support them, time to get customer approvals, and most importantly, time to be executed out in the marketplace, so that you can actually see some results.

Additionally, executing marketing activities should not be a sporadic, infrequent occurrence.  Effective marketing requires regular investments, at regular intervals throughout the year.  Why?  Because the role of marketing is to create demand for your offerings; creating demand involves moving your customers through each phase of complex, emotional, and sometimes lengthy customer purchase decision process. 

While the customer purchase process can seem complex, the marketing planning process doesn’t have to be.  It’s important to map your planning process to the scale of your business – there’s is no need to conduct lengthy offsite meetings or create multi-page marketing documents that take you a  month to write up.  It’s OK to keep it simple, especially if you are just getting started, or are new to marketing planning. 

My advice to small business marketers is to focus on two principles: 1) utilize a marketing calendar as a simple planning methodology, and 2)  map it against your customer purchase process.  The customer purchase process model is based on the premise that a customer advances through four phases, in a linear fashion, as part of his or her decision to purchase products or services.  These phases include awareness, consideration, purchase, and loyalty, and marketing programs can be used to drive your customers through each phase. 

The customer purchase process is always ongoing, which is why it is important to develop a calendar that can be used to identify which marketing programs and tactics you will take on each quarter.  The beauty of a marketing calendar that maps to this purchase process, is that it can start out simple and evolve over time to be a sophisticated as you need it to be.  It can easily scale as your business grows over time. 

To learn more about the Customer Purchase Process model, and how to create your own marketing planning calendar, visit our website as to learn more about our Marketing Planning and Calendar Template.  This is a low cost, downloadable resource that provides helpful insights and templates that will jumpstart your marketing activities for 2011.


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  1. * branchenbuch says:

    Wow!! I love what you are doing! Informative and interesting post!!!keep it up..

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 12 months ago

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