Tag Archives: Marketing Plan

Don’t let your marketing become ‘Tyranny of the Urgent’

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Are you balancing the important marketing with the urgent marketing?

I was talking to a business owner this afternoon, when she used the phrase “tyranny of the urgent.” It got me thinking about how business is run, sales are made, and marketing is planned and executed.

In Charles Hummel’s 1967 essay Tryanny of the Urgent, one important point Hummel makes is striking a balance between what is considered urgent, and what is considered important. This issue is really all about time management. As a cotton mill manager once told Hummel “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.”

What are examples of urgent marketing?

Business owners are under pressure to increase sales, make payroll, handle employees, and many other things. Under this pressure, marketing that I would consider urgent is any type of marketing that is reactionary. When a competitor runs a coupon, you run a coupon. When a car dealer runs a giant inventory reduction sale (which by the way is cliche…because what sale isn’t meant to reduce inventory?)…they are trying to make a month-end sales quota. This is urgent (and reactionary) marketing. Selling price before value…another example of urgent marketing. It’s looking for the quick-fix, the quick buck, the easy sale.

What are examples of important marketing?

Important marketing is, at times, going back to the basics. It is creating, and maintaining, your customer list. It is making sure you have your graphics, logo, and pictures organized on a disk for easy access when marketing materials are needed. It is building a marketing plan, so that you can be proactive, rather than reactive. It also keeps you on budget. Important marketing is building a website rich with content, and search-engine optimized, so that you can start the marketing process to your customers before they become your customers.

6 things you can do to shift marketing priorities from urgent to important

  • Write a marketing plan.
  • Organize your business logos and pictures into one easy-to-find place.
  • Get your database of customers updated
  • Do a website evaluation…is your website doing what you need it to do?
  • Consider getting professional marketing services. The small business owner can’t do it all themselves. Consultants of any kind bring valuable outside opinions and experience to the table.
  • Begin each week with a list of the most important things that will grow your business. Create another list of the tasks for the week. Schedule time with yourself to work on the first list.

One of my favorite phrases is: Business is a series of interruptions…interrupted by more interruptions.

Let’s all try to get out of the interruption trap. Ever go through a day and know you worked hard, but thinking back, can’t remember what you accomplished? Yeah, it happens to me too. Remember, it’s not about time. We all have the same about of time…24-hours per day, 7 days per week. It is about the priorities.

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Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency in Elk River, Minnesota. He plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. Mitchell is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.


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Your Prescription for Marketing Success: Part IV – The 5 Essential Elements of a Small Business Marketing Plan

“Playoffs? Who said anything about playoffs?”

I sometimes get the Jim Mora look when I ask about a client’s marketing plan. About 50% of the clients I have an initial consultation with don’t have one. Usually that’s why we’re talkin’ in the first place.

Without a plan, it’s easy to spend too much money, lose focus, and become a reactionary marketer. I’m going to go into the five essential elements of a small business marketing plan. Let’s start.

1) Determine your key marketing challenges. Who is the competition? What’s keeping you up at night? Retaining customers, or getting new ones? What are the consumer trends? Narrow your list to about 4 key marketing challenges. This gives you some annual goals to set your sights on…and the rest starts to fall into place.

2) Define your marketing/sales goals. This is important. Everything starts with sales. Without a benchmark of what you did last year, and what you’re shooting for this year, you’re going on a trip without a map.

Break your sales goals into quarters, and then months. Look at trends. Look at opportunities. Your marketing strategies and tactics will begin to take shape.

Maybe you’re a lawn/garden store owner, and you know 2nd quarter is going to be your top revenue period of the year. Doesn’t it make sense to put your efforts (and marketing dollars) where the most potential for revenue is?

3) Identify core products and service lines. Which products make you the most money? Which make you the least? Are there some lines you should drop? By segmenting your business into your main cores, you’ll get a better handle on which to promote this year.

4) Set your marketing budget. How much should you spend on marketing? It depends. National average for marketing budgets are about 4% of gross sales. Some industries are higher, some are lower. A grocery store spends less than 1% of gross on marketing…and a casino will spend 20% of gross on marketing.

Whatever type of business you’re in, by setting your marketing budget for the year, it will save you money. You can negotiate better advertising rates. And you’ll avoid reactionary tactics.

Put about 10% of your budget in a reserve fund for special opportunities that do come up. Plan the other 90% of the advertising budget.

Always make sure part of your budget goes toward retaining your current customers. This should be through a planned direct mail or email marketing campaign.

5) Plan your marketing calendar. Month-by-month, plug in your events. You can see an overview of how sales goals, marketing budget, and marketing tactics will all come together.

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Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency that plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. He is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.

website: http://www.258marketing.com
email: chris@258marketing.com