In a cluttered market, with lots of competition, there are 12 "must haves" in your marketing plan.
You can enjoy guilt-free watching of your favourite sport this weekend by turning it into a business lesson.
Think about the intricately woven organisation behind the sweat, and you'll see that sports codes and their franchises (the teams) are actually windows to the highs and lows faced by many companies.
Each sports code, and team within it, has its own plan for winning fans, game day spectators, promising players and sponsors.
The super 12s of a small business marketing plan
- Your marketing plan must be based on your business objectives
It seems obvious that you don't drive to the basketball stadium if you have tickets for the football, but that's what so many businesses do when they don't match their marketing plan to their overall business objectives.
Be specific. For example: Do you want to increase the number of new customers by 10 per cent, or do you want to increase your current customers' spending by 10 per cent? That will have a huge impact on how you go about your marketing for the year.
- Do your research and score
Why do some teams always have an extra 10,000 screaming supporters on game day while other stadiums are lucky to fill a quarter of their seats? Why do people lose interest and switch codes? You'll never know unless you ask.
You need to research current, past and potential clients to learn how they think and feel. You might think people aren't buying Product A because of its price, but it might just be that the colour is wrong! Base your marketing plan on research.
- Get competitive
Sports coaches spend hours watching the games of their competitors. By knowing as much as they can about the competition, they plan training sessions to counter the positives of the other team, while exploiting the weaknesses. Realise that your business does not operate in a vacuum.
- Profile your target market
A soccer team knows it's a hard and expensive sell to get everyone in the area to a game, so they start by narrowing their marketing down to likely suspects. For example: Male, lives within a 20km radius of the ground, etc.
- Ideal client profile
Then they go a huge step further, drilling right down to their ideal customer. For example: Age group, ethnicity, etc.
- Brand promise
What do you promise to deliver to your customers?
What makes you different from the business down the road?
- Entertainment - a fun atmosphere at the games, no matter if your team wins or loses?
- A family friendly atmosphere - no drunks starting riots?
- Fiery competition - a team that sizzles with passion and never gives up?
- Mateship - a chance to hang out with friends and mingle with the players?
- Key messages
What are the three things your business stands for and wants your customers to know?
"To win this game we need to stop X because she's lightening fast and if she scores early it'll be hard to come back. I want the three of you to spend the first 15 minutes right on her, wear her down, don't even let her get a touch." A coach doesn't kiss his charges on the cheek and wish them good luck. He pulls out his white board, laptop or book of plays and gives his team a tactical approach to achieve each objective.
- Tracking effectiveness
Win or lose, there's an analysis after each game. Without this, how will you know what worked, what didn't and at what expense?
It's no use winning the game if you lose your four best players for six weeks to stress injuries! You need to know what works so you can enhance it and do it even better next time.
- CRM plan
A plan for regular communication keeps you top of mind and is crucial for building loyalty, word-of-mouth and frequency of purchase.
- How will you communicate with your customers and get to know them even better?
- How will you entice them to keep coming back?
- How do you give them a sense of investment in what your business is doing?
- Website and online plan
One word: Vital!
- Lead tracking template and conversion report
Know where your leads come from and the best way to convert them so your marketing budget is put to best use!
- Are lots of people calling to find out the game time but no one actually turns up?
- Are people who seek information by email more likely to come, enticed by a downloadable discount entry voucher?
With the super 12s as your guide, it's time to get your business out of the dressing room. "Game on!"