RHEN: What’s up Fish Fans! This is Marcus, I’m Rhen, and you are watching Marketing Madness. The Blue Fish weekly vlog; each episode our aim is to bring you guys pure marketing value. During our day to day at Blue Fish, we find that our clients have questions, or don't understand certain things in the marketing and advertising space. So we do our best to address these common questions here. 

MARCUS: This week we are going to dive into marketing plans. The need for a solid business plan is understood and known by pretty much every business owner and entrepreneur. What isn’t talked about enough: the need for a great marketing plan. The  business plan outlines how your  business will operate, the marketing plan outlines how your business will win, and retain, paying customers. A good marketing plan lines out all the tools and tactics you’ll use to achieve your sales goals. Think about this as your plan of action - what you sell, who will buy, and the strategies  to use that will generate qualified leads to increase your close rate. 

RHEN: Let’s take a closer look at a marketing plan that works: 

RHEN: Step 1: Take a look at your company's current situation. This is called a “situation analysis”. Here you will define your company and its offerings. Then go on to show what sets you apart from the” competition”. 
Marketing tools available today allow you to be very specific when targeting your audiences.  You should be able to creatively describe your offerings and tactfully, through this messaging, describe how your product or service is superior to the competition or provides better value.

MARCUS: The situation analysis  is a great time to examine your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths and weaknesses refer to characteristics that exist within your business, while opportunities and threats refer to outside factors. To determine your company’s strengths, consider the ways that its products are superior to others, or if your service is more comprehensive, for example. What do you offer that gives your business a competitive advantage? Weaknesses, on the other hand, can be anything from operating in a highly saturated market to lack of experienced staff members.

RHEN: Next let’s look at any external opportunities you can capitalize on, such as reaching new targets or markets for your product, service, or offering. Additionally, every business has external threats. 

Take note of all of known threats to your business. Then create proactive plans to avoid, or minimize, their effects  these if possible. 

MARCUS: All of this analysis will allow you to properly position yourself and your products in the market. Great positioning  requires you be honest and understand what we are truly selling. Is it convenience? Quality? Discounted Pricing? Understand your niche and lean into it. Honda and Cadillac both sell cars. They aren’t positioned the same, and that benefits them both and allows for dual success. By truly understanding who you are and what you offer, you can gain an advantage with your positioning. 

RHEN: Step 2: Describe your target demographic and marketing audience.
Here you will  create a simple, one-paragraph profile of who your prospects, and who your audience will be, if different from prospects (selling kids products to moms), .  Describe them in as much detail as possible. For example, you want to cover  demo’s like - age, sex, earnings, location, family composition, lifestyle choices, etc...

MARCUS: Still building your customer profile here… Ask yourself these questions: Are my customers leaders or followers? Timid or aggressive? Introverted or extroverted? How often are they making purchases of my product or offering? Are they the end user of my product or service?

RHEN: When you are in the B2B (business to business) market, you’ll want to build a profile out according to the type of businesses you want to acquire as a customer: business type, size, location, and so on…
No matter who your targets are be sure to be as specific as possible when building out this profile. There is a saying, “the riches are in the niches”. Blue Fish has found this to be true more often than not. Defining your niche, then doubling down on that target audience profile can help you refine your marketing efforts. And, in the long term, this will help optimize your marketing efforts and spending. More bang for your buck! 

MARCUS: Step 3: List out your marketing goals. When creating a business plan,most businesses outline the measurement of tangible goals. This leverages sales numbers in order to quantify your dollars earned, or spent to earn. The same should hold true when creating your marketing plan. You need to set goals, create mechanisms of measurement, and then quantify your investment. This will help you know when your marketing is working, and helps keep your marketing agency accountable. 

RHEN: Step 4: Develop a winning strategy. This section is the guts and the glory. Previously you identified your objective and profiled your prospects that will help you reach your objective. Now you need to plan out exactly what strategies you will use to reach the intended prospects and achieve your goals. 

MARCUS: You may find that you have prospects at different stages of the sales cycle and that needs to be reflected in your marketing. You should create objectives that message them. Cold prospects will need to have a different message than warm, or hot prospects. Be sure to plan your marketing efforts keeping the sales cycle in mind. This will be a key difference maker in progressing people through your pipeline. 

RHEN: To complete the strategy section, outline your primary marketing strategies, and include a variety of tactics you’ll use to reach prospects at any point in your sales cycle. For example, you may use search and Facebook Ads to reach cold prospects. Then pivot to email marketing for warm prospects. 

To identify your ideal marketing mixture, leverage the media your target audience turns to for information on the type of product or service you sell. Avoid the shotgun approach—even if it attracts your target audience—if the content isn't relevant. The marketing tactics you choose must reach your prospects when they’ll be most receptive to your message. 

**EXAMPLE DO’S/DONT’S**

MARCUS: Step 5: Set the budget. To set a budget you’ll need to allocate a percentage of your projected gross sales to your annual marketing budget. We covered how to set a marketing budget in a pervious episode, we will make sure there is a link to that video in the description. Go watch that video after this one. There is solid math, backed by the SBA, behind how much you should be spending every year on marketing. 

Remember,marketing is essential in growing a business. There are many options, and a lot of noise on all the platforms. Take the time to ensure you are validating and measuring your efforts. Very rarely does anything work over night (Facebook Ads are a great example), yet measurement is important in all strategies. The key is to find the right mix that fits your niche the best. 

The key is to never stop marketing. Henry Ford is known to have said, “A man that stops marketing to save money, is like a man that stops his watch to save time.”

RHEN: Alright Blue Crew, thanks for your attention this week. As always, if you have anything you want us to cover just slide that to us in a DM, or comment below. We appreciate any feedback you’d like to leave as well.
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MARCUS: See you next week everyone! :)