Many business clients ask me how they can review their business and develop a simple marketing plan. There are many great books and gurus out there who will help you do this - unfortunately it takes a lot of time and effort. If things aren't working or you're not getting the same penetration you did a few years ago, you probably need to modify something in your business mix. As I've always said, "The best businesses are the ones who are nimble and flexible. When it's time to change, make that change."
I've developed a simple 4-step exercise to help you get a better handle on your business. So here goes:
1. Look at your PRODUCT.
- What are your best selling products? What are your most profitable products? Why?
- What products are growing? What ones are shrinking? Why?
- What new products can you add? What products can you modify?
- What products can you kill?
- Can you change your product pricing/packaging to reflect market shifts?
Who's buying what, when, where, and why?
2. Survey the MARKETPLACE.
- What's happening out there? Is the market growing? Shrinking? Moving?
- Are there new competitors out there? What are they doing? Offering?
- Are there new opportunities out there to develop partnerships?
If the marketplace has changed, you need to modify your efforts.
3. Analyze your CUSTOMERS.
- Who were they and why did they buy your products? Where did they go?
- Who are they now? Are they in a different area to access?
- Have their lives changed? More money to spend? Less money?
- When was the last time your reached out to your current clients?
- When have you talked to your past clients?
- When have you re-approached the prospects who got away?
You can always plan to retain and extend your clients. And get new ones too.
4. Review your COMMUNICATION.
- Did your access routes (advertising) to your customers change?
- Has your media changed? Newspaper/Magazine/Radio into Web/Groupon/Patch?
- Are you varying your messages? Different packages/price points?
- How do you talk personally with your customers/prospects?
The message is the medium and the medium has changed.
What else do you do to help you review your marketing?