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  • Writer's pictureJessica Morris-McKenzie

3 Steps to Take Before Writing Your Marketing Plan

In this next blog in our marketing planning series, we look at the three, simple steps you should be taking before you write your marketing action plan for 2021.

What a year 2020 has been for everyone, but with the vaccine being rolled out and the Covid-19 numbers on the decline in many areas – including in Cornerstone Your Business’ home county of Cheshire – things are looking much more positive for 2021.

So if you’re planning your marketing for next year, we’d recommend you first have a read of our Outsourced Marketing Manager Jess’ three steps to take first:

1. Understand your business

This might sound easy, but the fact is, so many business owners are incredibly busy – particularly this year with having to constantly adapt to new rules and procedures. They simply haven’t had the time to step back and take a good look at their business.

Where is your business now? Is it ahead or behind where you’d planned it to be? What are you doing that’s working? What are you doing that’s not?

I’d really recommend doing a SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Write a list for each, of what you’re doing well, of what you’re not doing well, of new prospects for your business, and of emerging competitors or enforced changes to the way your business is run.

2. Goal setting

Getting caught up with the day-to-day tasks of keeping your business afloat can mean you forget to set goals. Where do you want your business to be this time next year? And what are the routes you’ll need to take to get there? Knowing this path will be essential for the effectiveness of your 2021 marketing plan; so it’s better to know these goals first before you put yours together. Remember, your goals don’t have to be momentous! In fact, breaking them down into more manageable ‘mini-goals’ will mean you’re much more likely to achieve them. So for example, you could set a goal to increase your social media following by a certain date, or change a supplier you’re not happy with. These mini-goals will all help you to achieve your main overall goal – whatever that might be.

3. Competitor analysis

Before you set out your marketing plans for the year, I recommend doing some serious competitor analysis. Who are your competitors? What are they doing well? What do you do better? How do your businesses compare?

Look at any new competitors taking a share of your market, and any that haven’t made it through the past year... what are the differences between your business and theirs?

There are some great free templates available online for putting your competitor analysis together; which once completed can help you look at what changes you might need to make to your business.

As a Marketing Manager, having all this information at my fingertips is vital to creating an effective marketing plan for your business for 2021. You could think of it like taking your car to the garage! You wouldn’t drive it there on empty and then not divulge to the mechanic any problems you’re having with it!

If you come to me with a ‘service history’ of your business, problems it’s had or is having, where you’ll be taking it this year and how you’re expecting it to perform, I can create a plan that will maximise your marketing; bringing in new clients, retaining existing clients and strengthening your brand image.

Equally, if you’re in the process of setting up a business, do give me a call on 07929 905229 or email, and I can support you in getting your company off the ground with the right marketing procedures in place from the get-go.

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