MSPmentor Blog

How Prepared Are You for Next Year’s Marketing Plan?

As great as direct mail is, that does not complete your marketing strategy! There are four essentials you need when it comes to building your marketing strategy: Planning, Budget, Messaging, and Execution. Let’s break these down further.

Sales Team. Check! Budget. Check! Marketing. Well, we have postcards! Check! Ready, set, go!

So before you start to screech the tires you need to stop and take a look at those postcards. As great as direct mail is, that does not complete your marketing strategy! There are four essentials you need when it comes to building your marketing strategy: Planning, Budget, Messaging, and Execution. Let’s break these down further.

Let’s talk about planning. Research is the first step for properly planning and building of your plan. What’s going on currently, internally (Sales Cycle, Brand Awareness, Market Saturation, Close Ratio, Customer Retention to name a few)? How about externally: competitors, verticals, size, buying power, competitive advantage? Have you taken a good look at your target market recently? Are there any opportunities for growth in perhaps a new vertical? If so, maybe it’s time for you to have a new focus or ditch an old one. Now, let’s take a trip back in time. Do you remember your Business 101 class? Probably not, so here’s a refresher course… it’s called SWOT. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Start writing them down, make a list, and be honest. Once you have that finished, create some critical issues. Use both internal and external factors to determine what you really need to tackle in the coming year. From there, you can create objectives like, I want to increase brand awareness by 20 percent or I want to increase revenue by 10 percent. Congratulations, you’re on the right path to creating your own marketing plan!

Next Step is budget. This one is easy. You just need to know how much you’re willing to spend, and how much you need to spend on marketing. This depends on four main things:

  1. Your starting point- are you starting from 0 or do you already have something in place now.
  2. Staff- are you a marketing team of 1? Or do you have a few people already? Do you need to hire more people? These are all things that will have a huge impact on your plan.
  3. So… just what were those objectives again? Are these realistic? If so, do they outline the tactics needed to complete and the resources it will take.
  4. Market- Bakersfield, Calif. is going to be much cheaper than NYC for marketing and reaching a market. Please keep this in mind, you may want to focus more on one thing that the other. (We still see effectiveness with print ads in our local paper because of our market. However, this may not work in a larger market).

Ok, you have a plan, you know how much you’re going to spend… now what the heck are you going to say? You can’t go around yelling “computers low, low prices.” This worked back in the day, but won’t be effective in today’s markets.  You must master three things when it comes to messaging:

  1. Pique curiosity- why should they care about anything you say? Unless they are currently experiencing a server down, that cute postcard isn’t going to do anything for them. How about something that will truly make them stop and think about what the message is saying?
  2. Stand out from competitors- During Academy we go through an exercise where we have everyone in the audience write down three things they are better than their competitors at. Guess what? They all end up saying the same thing! So why/how are you any different than your competition?
  3. Stick to your positioning/values- Don’t have squirrel moments with your direction and plan! Be sure to establish yourself as a leader in a certain area and stick with it. You don’t want to keep changing around what your positioning is because it makes it harder for not only marketing efforts, but for brand recognition too.

Ok, you have your plan, budget, and messaging! Now you actually have to do something about it! This is the hardest part of the whole process. You have spent all this time creating the plan, but if it just sits on your desk, it doesn’t do anyone any good! So how are you going to execute? Glad you asked:

  • Advertising: TV, Print, Radio, Online
  • Outreach: Postcards, Calls, Promo Items, Tracks, Emails
  • Sales Promotion: Coupons, Loyalty/Referral Programs
  • Public Relations: Media Events/Visits, Mailers, Media List
  • External Events: Lunch and Learns, Expos, Mixers, Booth
  • Internal Events: List, Advertising, Food, Promo Items
  • Email Campaign and Tracks

Now it’s time to get going on your 2014 Marketing Campaign! Don’t forget to execute after you build it!

If you want some more help preparing for 2014, come to our Academy next week. We are taking a deep dive into all things Marketing and Sales specifically for MSPs and IT providers. Register here.

Gabe Ulloa is interactive media and marketing event coordinator at CharTec, which offers HaaS, BDR and training services to MSPs. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Michael Bian (not verified)
on Dec 12, 2013

Thanks for sharing this useful article.

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