I have learnt so much over the last year. I have been busy writing marketing plans. I believe that creative graduates need to be equipped with enterprise skills, including the ability to plan.


Marketing planning tools

I use imindmaps to help clients picture their market

 

Your marketing plans

I have learnt so much over the last year.  I have been busy writing marketing plans.  I believe that creative graduates (and anyone running a small business or marketing team) need to be equipped with enterprise skills, including the ability to plan.  Portfolio working and self-employment/micro businesses are now recognised as normal for creative graduates. I want to help as many of these graduates as possible. Many of them struggle with the planning. Sometimes you can be so close to your ideas that it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees. It helps to get someone in from outside. There are many advantages to planning your marketing:

 

  • To ‘sell’ your business to potential investors, banks, sponsors, funding bodies, grant givers or partners.
  • To give you credibility and show the viability of your business or project.
  • To monitor targets and plan for the future.
  • To reduce the risk of failure.
  • To give you the confidence to move forward.

 

Once you have a blueprint, you will have confidence. You will know what you are doing – you have not left a stone unturned. There is always something else you could be doing with marketing, so by planning your activity, you should feel less stressed.  You do need to be flexible as a marketing plan is not set in stone – it should be something that evolves as new opportunities come your way.

 

I enjoy creating from scratch. I am excited to be involved with a young designer who is setting up a new business. We are planning to plan! By looking at all the key areas, she will have confidence as she moves into this new world of business. But it’s not just about a piece of paper, it’s a process she will go through as she considers:

 

Her potential customers

  • What do her customers need?
  • Do their needs make up a group that’s easy to identify and target? E.g. age, gender, income, hobbies, interests?
  • Are they easy to reach and communicate with?
  • Can she split them into different groups?
  • What do they have in common?
  • How much will they pay to get satisfaction?
  • Do they have money?  If they do, what are they prepared to spend?

 

The competition

  • What are the ‘threats and opportunities’ of the competition?
  • Can she create a SWOT of the competition?
  • Where do her competitors not meet customer needs?  Is it possible to aim at this area and make it into a unique selling proposition?
  • Where are they strong?  Could this be something to aim at?

 

The business – strengths and weaknesses

  • A review of the strengths and weaknesses will help.
  • How can the weaknesses be minimised?
  • Making the most of her strengths.  If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

 

Speed of growth (short or long term)

  • Is the market growing or stable?
  • What is the evidence for this?
  • What are the trends in the future?

 

Market share

  • How much of the market share does she expect to get?
  • How will this be achieved?
  • How realistic is this?
  • What will make people change products or take up this new product?

 

Your marketing strategy should cover at least four key areas:

 

1.    Product


•    What are the key characteristics of your product?
•    What makes it different?


How closely do the product characteristics meet customer needs?
Is it novel?  Does it have a unique selling point?
What makes it really special?

 

2.    Price


•    On what is your price based?  E.g. competition, needs of customer, cost of product?
•    Is it higher or lower cost than your competition?
•    Does the price reflect the value of the product or service?

 

3.    Promotion


•    Reaching your target audience: how will customers hear about your offer?
•    How much will this promotion cost?
•    What will the timing be?
•    How will you assess its success?

 

4.    Place


•    Where will your product or service be available?  E.g. online shop, eBay, retail outlets, craft fairs, group exhibitions, events…
•    How well does this fit with the segment(s) you are targeting?
•    What will the ‘place’ say about your product?

 

From this point, you need to be clear on your targets: set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed) objectives.  You then need to put together a marketing activity calendar for January to December.


So, what do you need to do in 2013 to increase your turnover/get your business idea off the ground?  Make it your New Year resolution to stop working ad hoc and plan for success.  Take time out, or book an appointment to pick my brains.  Get new ideas, refresh and re-invigorate your marketing by calling me on 01285 651790.  I would love to help you.


© Tessa Webb, December 2012

www.creativesintobusiness.com