Would you let a brand new employee take over your most valuable business account? Of course not, and for many valid reasons, with the most important being–they aren’t prepared. The same rule applies when developing an integrated marketing plan. Chances for success are much greater when you are prepared. Take a look behind-the-scenes at the first steps needed to prepare your plan.
1. Define the company mission.
The company mission statement defines why you are in business, and the heart and soul of your business. In just a few sentences, it captures your business goals, the philosophies you and your team follow, and the image you want to convey. The statement reveals what your business is all about to your customers, vendors, employees and the public. It shares why you are different from your competition.
Mission statement sample: Below is the mission statement of myMarketing Cafe. A useful strategy for writing your company mission statement is to research companies similar to yours and use them for inspiration.
myMarketing Café is a company devoted to exceptional small business marketing. Our company focuses on building mutually beneficial relationships with our clients, suppliers and business partners. We combine integrated marketing solutions, a resource center and expert contributors, to help entrepreneurs achieve profitable growth through a supreme customer experience.
Resource: Follow this exercise to write the company mission statement.
2. Define your company vision statement.
Where the mission statement reflects present day, and exactly what you do and who you are, your vision statement is a snapshot of the future. The focus can be mid term or long term. The vision statement outlines the goals your company would like to achieve and is the foundation for the business plan that will support these goals.
In this article from Business News Daily, Elaine Hom writes, “A good vision statement provides the inspiration for the daily operations of a business and molds its strategic decisions.”
The key difference between a mission statement and vision statement, is the mission statement gives information to the company and those outside the company. Vision statements are internal and offer guidance and direction to employees.
3. Define your target audience.
Your target audience derives from two groups: businesses or consumers. There are some industries that sell to both, but most businesses, focus on one or the other. The most important aspect of identifying your audience is to be as specific as possible. We’ve written many posts on the danger of trying to sell to everyone. By identifying a narrow target audience, you can focus on developing a marketing plan tailored to this specific market, and develop a stronger, trusting relationship with the audience. (Here’s an interview by Marie Forleo that shares the danger of selling to everyone. Scroll forward to exactly the 5:00 minute mark and listen to the great analogy.)
At myMarketing Cafe, we have three primary target markets: small service-related businesses, product based businesses, and non-profit organization. Our marketing programs and strategies begin inside a company, engaging employees, and focus on creating a supreme customer experience. Service businesses in particular must have a strong and clear focus on the customer experience and delivering a high quality product, because in today’s DIY environment, everyone’s suddenly an expert.
Resource: This article is an excellent tool for defining your target audience.
4. Define the complete customer experience.
The complete customer experience begins with the first interaction someone has with your company through the buying journey. There are opportunities to improve the customer experience at every level of interaction, and a truly supreme customer experience requires every person in the company to be committed to the mission, every second of every day. It involves the online and offline experience from researching online, to a call to customer service, to the invoice sent via email. Every aspect of doing business with your business is examined and opportunities to engage customers at each interaction are identified. A supreme customer experience follows the highest standards, without wavering, and when your business makes this commitment, you will yield high returns.
Resources: Google Analytics can provide data around online customer behavior, which can then be used to engage customers at different interaction points.
Additionally, Jason Konopinski wrote a guest blog for Spin Sucks recently, The Ideal Customer Experience: Lessons in Loyalty from Mickey Mouse. In the article, Jason shares the attention to detail every Disney “cast member” makes when focusing on the offline customer experience. This article serves as a great tool for inspiring your team and defining your company’s offline customer experience.
Once you finish this behind-the-scenes homework, the down and dirty research begins. In our tab titled The Marketing Plan, we share about the research process beginning with your company, then moving to your industry and audience.
Let me here your ideas in the comments!