Sustainable Business/Forming a tactical plan
We will consider
- Do you need a direct mailing campaign?
- How do you get existing customers to come back?
- Which is the best type of advertising?
- How do you approach people for referrals?
Select targets for the coming year
Select the right targets. The first target is always existing customers. Split existing customers into sub-groups for example gold silver and bronze.
- Gold Customers:
- Your best
Those that could potentially grow to become your best
Key people who create word of mouth business for you. People who refer business to you.
Then list other targets:
- Potential customers you have not yet approached in your region, that are similar in profile to the list above.
- New targets such as hospitals or schools
- New targets such as the retired or maybe teenagers
The idea is to split the market into subgroups because it is more cost effective to target these with specific promotional activities. For example of your target market is large companies in your local region then newspaper or radio advertising is unlikely to be effective. In this situation it is better to develop a list of the potential customers and go and visit them.
Target only the biggest and most viable groups first. Do not target a large corporate and find you cannot deliver what you promised.
Once you have selected your targets (and you should have between 3 and 5 groups) the idea is to develop a specific strategy for each group.
Do not approach promotional planning by saying by thinking vaguely “we must do some promotion so lets advertise in the newspaper, deliver some flyers and perhaps run advertisements on the radio".
You need to be a lot more specific. A better approach is to think “right we want to target existing customers, so we will start a newsletter, post them all a discount card and run a special sales evening for them.”
Select a target from your list
lets assume you want to target students as a specific group.
Do you need to adjust any part of your business for this target market? For example the price? If part of your market is price sensitive consider a student discount on the product or service. In this example you might want to repackage how you deliver or distribute. Or you might want to offer free delivery. Adjust the three variables of price, product and place (distribution or location) only if appropriate
- Create promotional tactics especially for this target.
In our example promotional tactics for the student market might include contacting clubs the target group might belong to (such as rugby or netball clubs) and offer their members a discount, mail out promotional material with the club newsletter by offering to contribute to postage costs.
- Advertise in media they are most likely to read of radio they are most likely to listen to.
- Sponsor a charity (that relates to students) and getting some coverage in their mail-outs (Donate time – Zero cost marketing)
- Find a database of students and mail them. Consider joint mail-outs with complimentary businesses. (consider the Privacy Act)
- Promote your business on a website that students are interested in. (such as music or travel)
the point is the promotional tactics are only relevant to the target you are aiming at. By reducing promotional wastage you can save considerable sums of money.
Repeat the Steps for Other Targets
when the process is complete you may have total promotional costs that are larger than your budget. In that case your prioritising of expenditure will result in the best value you are able to achieve.
Did the tactical plan work?
Continually measure and fine tune your marketing tactics, deleting any area that performs poorly. Some ideas you may keep for other reasons, for example, a web page. Although the page may not yet be providing new customers it might be fundamental in keeping the ones you have (because it is how they find you - instead of using the yellow pages) and necessary for your future plans.