Updated: Jul 2, 2020
The guiding principle is being pragmatic. A lot of my own focus is on driving greater customer intimacy by creating an actionable plan which focuses on the activities that will best reach my client's target, whether that be a social media push, PPC advertising, a website upgrade, a revamp or development of marketing materials and assets, a press event or most likely a combination of different things that help their specific goals. Every business is addressing many of the steps below in a structured or unstructured approach, but it is important to understand how a subtle change in your new business model rolls through everything you do. A tiny change can impact everything!
Here is a simple step by step approach to better structure what you want in new messaging and marketing strategy and tactics.
1. Restrictions mean identify your new business model as it occurs. Restriction of your business is constantly changing and some industries have been affected by this more than others. Restrictions are frustrating but really they are challenges that can be overcome and translated into new ways of doing business and new ways of reaching customers. For example, if you once relied on a physical shop with passing consumer trade and can’t currently open, maybe you need to create a SWOT.
Brainstorm your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – is a great first step to outline the lay of the land. And right at the heart of that should be your brand – how has this period changed its values and its positioning? Is this an opportunity to take stock of your brand and develop it to reflect the new ways of working and the potential new markets?
2. It’s time to scope out some new business objectives. In response to overcoming these challenges, parts of your business model, or even all of it, might need to change short-term, medium-term, or indefinitely. You need to spend some time really thinking about what your new, realistic objectives are before you can put a plan together on how to achieve them. Perhaps it’s just a slightly different focus from where you were before ie growing your online sales. Where possible, new objectives should include methods of marketing and selling digitally to the customer as it’s a low-risk strategy given businesses may have to go into lockdown again at some point in the future. 3. Find out your consumers’ thinking and how their needs may have changed. When adapting your business model, you need to take into account what your customers want because – at the end of the day – they make your business. You need to understand how their needs have changed and what they now value in a business. For example, enjoying a coffee shop sitting shoulder to shoulder, or good parking facilities may now be replaced by more outdoor dining or an easy online payment process. Your analytics really come in to play here. Using analytics to understand your customer is important. 4. Look at what your competitors are doing and think about how you can be one step ahead. Competitor analysis is also crucial. Look at how they’ve adapted to the situation. Is there anything they’re doing that you’re not? Or do you see a new gap in the market that you can fill? This is your chance to really make yourself stand out by knowing exactly what your customers want and being able to fulfill their demands.
As well as being aware of your competitors, now more than ever is a good time for collaboration. Could you see yourself working with your competitors or other businesses to provide services that can only work on a larger scale?
5. What are your new marketing goals? By now you should have a clear idea of where you want to take your brand and your business – and what you need to focus on. From here, you can start building a marketing action plan to fulfill these objectives. If one of your new goals, for example, is growing B2C sales, one of your marketing goals could be to drive 25% more traffic to your e-commerce site. Creating these measurable targets gives you a framework to then decide what marketing activities you need to focus on.
6. Work out your budget. Now that you have your goals in place, decide how much you might need to spend, to achieve them. Often, the answer is budgeting for a promotional mix of low cost, easy wins (social posts, digital adverts, or direct mail) combined with one or two key investments that sit at the heart of your activity (core brand development and messaging, campaign or website). If you are unsure of how much you should be investing or where to access funds, take advice from your accountant – an initial push may be needed to kickstart your new plan with costs reducing as you progress.
7. What activities will best help you achieve your marketing goals? You’ve now done your planning and discovered: -How your products or services provide a more trusted and essential value,
-How do you significantly reduce complexity and refocus resource allocations around what’s critical,
-Where your business needs to focus its efforts to profit, -What your customers want, -What your competitors are doing, -What brand development would benefit your business, -What your marketing goals are, -What your budget is.
HOW do you achieve these exciting new goals you’ve set for your business? From here you can create an actionable plan which focuses on the activities that will best reach your target, whether than be a social media push, PPC advertising, a website upgrade, a revamp or development of your marketing materials and assets, a press event or most likely a combination of different things that help your specific goals. It’s crucial to really think this part of the plan through as you want to maximize your marketing budget by ensuring you are only doing the activities that will help to achieve your goals.
8.Monitor and iterate. No matter how well researched and thought through your plan is, it won’t be watertight. That’s okay as long as you are learning and using that learning to constantly improve and tighten your new approach and increase your profits. Make sure you are monitoring all of your activities to see how they’re performing, and if they’re not, find out why not…and change them. We’ve written an article about using data to overcome problems which you can read here.