Marketing for a Business: First, Think and Plan!

Marketing for a Business - Pie ChartWhen businesses create marketing materials and presentations as part of their marketing mix, they invest money, and, rightfully, expect a return on this investment. Otherwise, the money is wasted. The best way to ensure marketing programs and marketing communications “pay their way” is establish what you need to achieve… what are the programs and materials’ goals, before starting writing or production. From there, establish the cost of the problem that you need to solve – that will help determine how much money it will be wise to invest in the solution, plus you have a goal to measure the performance of the project.

Take a systematic approach to marketing for a business to bring together and organize the ideas to create your marketing materials. The output of this thinking and research drives internal staff or outside writers and producers to assure the desired result. By devoting serious thought at the beginning of a project, and honestly answer these questions, the people charged with creating and presenting the program will stand a much better chance of actually accomplishing the program’s goals.

Many times, in small business marketing, actually surveying your audience before you even start planning will give you a more accurate insight into the problems that actually need to be solved, and therefore give you an actual milestone against which your efforts can be measured – paraphrasing Lord Kelvin, “If you didn’t measure it, you didn’t do it!”

THE BACKGROUND – (Without knowing this, your program most likely will not work)

  1. What is the BASIC problem that we are addressing? What is costing us time, money or customers?
    It could be as simple as a New Product Launch, Sales Program, etc… Or as complex as a poorly motivated audience where this attitude must be dealt with BEFORE anything else can take place. Addressing this question would lead to….
  2. What is the dimension of the problem?
    This is usually the actual money cost of the problem we need to address. This is where the yardstick against which success is measured comes from. This then helps us define….
  3. What are we willing to spend to address the problem?
    An actual amount of money that becomes the budget for what we produce to counter the problem.
  4. What action do we want from our audience after learning about the program?
    Use action verbs like; GO, DO, INCREASE, SELL, BELIEVE, HAVE, ACT, THINK, etc. in short easy to act on sentences.
  5. Are there any secondary issues we need to address?

THE CONTENT – What will actually go into the program, brochure, etc.?

  1. What’s new?
    This includes hard goods like copiers, cameras, fruit cocktail, musical instruments, etc., or it might be an idea or concept such as a marketing strategy, sales program, or incentive. It may even be ideas like companies or groups, whose services a potential client or customer wants or needs.
  2. What important information is available?
    This can be existing preliminary information sheets, press releases, brochures, pictures, management directives, tour brochures, marketing bulletins, procedure outlines, sales guides, etc. This is critical, and the production group should see it right away.
  3. The, “elevator presentation.” Take two minutes – and only two minutes – to synopsize the important parts of this program. What is it critical that your audience understand?
  4. Is there any additional relevant information that must be given?
  5. How would you best demonstrate the reliability and quality of your subject?
  6. How will the weaknesses and strengths of competitive products or companies affect this new product or service? What do you have that they don’t?
  7. Why would your customers want YOUR product rather than your competitors’?
  8. Where did this product, company, or idea come from? What logically led to this development?


  1. How will the product or idea be presented? In what form, presentation, print, webinar, etc.?
  2. When is the presentation, brochure, or program due to be introduced?
    (Remember, approvals, printing, previews, travel time, setup, rehearsals, etc., will affect this date.
  3. How big is the group that will receive this new information?
  4. If it is a meeting or presentation, is it closed, required meeting, incentive or award type meeting, individual presentation, etc.
  5. The character of the audience?
    Education, motivations, occupations, likes/dislikes, externally motivated, or self-motivated etc.
  6. Does the audience need more motivation than the scope of the presentation… in other words, is a lack of motivation part of the problem, or is the audience already highly motivated?
  7. Will there be any awards, giveaways, prizes, or premiums?
  8. How might this program or presentation be repurposed to expand its reach? For instance, it might be a Video that can be additionally distributed through other channels like YouTube. Could the information or presentation be used as a Press Conference because of its PR value? Could this also be presented at a Trade Show for additional exposure? Or if is designed as a Trade Show Presentation, are there other ways it could be used?
    Other uses such as these can help justify producing a better quality program because it is used in several ways.
  9. What other comments or information will help the program be the most effective use of your company’s money?

You can see that answering these questions honestly and using the answers to guide the preparation and presentation of the communication will virtually guarantee success. You can also see that you have a yardstick against which to measure the success of the program – as I said up front, “If you didn’t measure it, you didn’t do it!”

For a real world exploration of this process, see my three-part article:
“If You Didn’t Measure It, You Didn’t Do It!”

Part 1 is Here

Part 2 is Here

Part 3 is Here

3 Responses to “Marketing for a Business: First, Think and Plan!”

  1. Dan says:

    This is the right track, always think about marketing first, and always think and plan everything you do for your business – you will operate most efficiently this way.

  2. […] undertake marketing your business, this is the first and most critical step. (see my related story: Marketing for a Business: First, Think and Plan!, shows the importance of the analysis […]

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