The One Thing

marketing tip, the one thingI am often asked, “What’s the one thing I should be doing to market my business?” My response is that there is no “one thing” in marketing.

Typically, this comes from business owners who are rightly looking to maximize their return on marketing investment, but are wrongly looking for a panacea. The “one thing” they seek is an idea into which they can put a dollar and get a marketing return of thousands… or more.

Of course that “one thing” doesn’t exist. Over the last couple years, Social Media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) were popular “one things”. They are important, but alone, they will not solve the marketing puzzle. However, this quest by business owners and entrepreneurs isn’t squelched that easily. So, here is truly, truly the “one thing” every business should do: Plan.

Yes, Really… A Marketing Plan

I know, I know… it’s not cool. It’s not hip. The kids aren’t doing it in London. However, a serious business will have a marketing plan. It can be one page, but you need a plan. That is the one thing that will:

Control Costs –By planning your marketing year, just like you would other areas of your business, you avoid the one off purchases. For example, when you decide to go to a trade show or event a week before it opens. That leads to rushed purchases at the tactical level…which can run afoul of your budget. The plan also can be the beginning of a real, accurate marketing budget for the year (ask me how).

Create Consistency – The biggest issue I see with the marketing of most businesses is a lack of consistency. A plan makes you go in market consistently. Whether advertising, email, direct mail, selling… only a plan and a schedule for that plan keeps a business focused on delivering the value proposition consistently.

Lead to Understanding – The power of planning is doing. I have worked with many businesses that did not understand how powerful marketing is at leading to sales (I know…seems odd). When you work a marketing plan for a year, or even a few months, you suddenly see results… wow! like magic! You start to get results and that helps build understanding of what messages and offers bring in leads, prospects, and sales. That initial plan, well executed, uncovers new ideas, bigger plans, and better results.

The One Thing

So, yes, the one thing is to plan. If you need help developing a simple marketing plan and implementing it consistently across your organization, Contact us.

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This is a republish of this blog (originally published 1/1/13). A new year, same answer… have a plan.
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