Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print

Recently we held a Kaizen Print event for those entrepreneurs, business owners, sales people and marketers in the Belfast area. The event focused on how we at Kaizen Print create our own marketing plans and how this was shaped by our Managing Directors’ own experience as a marketer, salesperson and business owner.

Downloadable Working Documents

At the event, we promised all slides and working documents would be available on our blog. Below are the downloads to the working files and the rest of this article includes all notes and slides.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print

As part of our own continued growth we promised to share the presentation along with Connors notes. We’re delighted to hear any feedback on this or updates you think we should make.

Please note the notes are Connor’s speaking prompts. If you want any further clarification that he gave on the day, please just let us know.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print

Can I have a quick show of hands. Who has created a marketing plan before? Who is new to this process? Who has created a perfect marketing plan and needs no further help?

Good! As our name suggests, even if we created the best marketing plan ever yesterday. Today there is opportunity to improve it and that’s why we’re here. Creating a robust marketing plan is not about creating a plan and leaving it, but reviewing and updating along with your results from the activities. Regardless if you’ve been a marketer forever or are just starting out, this will hopefully act as a reference.

As marketers, we face challenges everyday. Some are external factors and some are internal. While they all differ for each of us, having a robust marketing plan will help overcome these problems and provide structure and accountability to your day. Everything in this talk relates back to that, structure and accountability.

Some of the most common ones include:

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

Identifying new customers can be one of the most challenging efforts for marketers. Either you’re new to marketing and it’s alien to you, or you have been marketing the same business a long time and you get a brain drain. This is normal.

As the saying goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.”

Sometimes relationships breakdown. It’s inevitable! However the real value and growth in your business comes from the longevity of the relationship with your clients. We’re at the mercy of our internal teams and external factors but as marketers, we need to do our best to maintain relationships

Marketing is getting more competitive and increasing our customer base requires more effort and activity. By working smarter we can overcome the challenges outside our business and help achieve growth within the organisation

We’ve all worked with someone who doesn’t get marketing. Their resistance to the process of marketing can be a huge challenge. Especially if it’s the boss or a more senior role. If you’re the boss, creating a positive marketing culture in my opinion one of the quickest ways to success.

I’m a business owner but I’m also a marketer. Giving advice to the other marketers in the room. To be successful in your career, we need to quantify everything and show the return on investment of all your actions. You are very much in a sales generating role and you should be able to attribute a value of sales to your work. Doing so you show your value to the business.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

This is the biggest problem we face as marketers. Likes don’t pay the bills, if they did it would be awesome.I’ve put this in today to highlight that we as marketers, shouldn’t focus our efforts on a single channel but should have a plan touching all manner of digital and traditional media. In the absence of likes paying the bills. Why should we have a marketing plan?

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

Even the most seasoned marketer needs a reference point. Something to show the board, or present management team. It doesn’t need to be War and Peace but a clear understanding of what actionable items the marketing team need to undertake

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

Focus efforts and resources

Simply put, this is to make us better organised and keep us on track when we deviate from the plan. To be effective marketers we must be effective with our time and project management. It also allows us to prioritise budgets where they are really needed.

Reduce risk

Always having new innovative ideas adds risk and so having a plan to fall back on or review for next time will ensure your projects are continuously improving. We always strive to improve upon our past campaigns

Better performance

Having a plan to follow ensures we become more productive. There should never be an instance in marketing where you don’t have something to do next.

Evaluation

Review absolutely everything. As professionals we need to be able to critique our work objectively. If it worked fantastic, show the results. If not, you should be able to review the data to make your campaign better next time round. Evaluation is the key to becoming successful in marketing.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

As a marketer the sales team should be our very best friends. Their insight will help shape our campaigns and by doing our job correctly, we should make their jobs much easier. I’ve worked in businesses where sales don’t engage the marketing team and vice versa. Make sure this process engages all stakeholders, not just your customers.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

For those starting out in marketing do not be daunted by these steps. Knowing your business, you will be able to answer the questions and create a robust plan. For everyone else use this as an opportunity for a best practice restart

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

Even start ups have engaged in some form of marketing. Setting up a website, sending a prospecting email. For me, no activity is too small to be called marketing, if it is undertaken to meet the strategic goals of the company. Whether or not your marketing is effective, is of course a different matter. If you’re in a new company, ask questions. While you may not have access to hard data, qualitative information can prove vital

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

Who spends money with you today? Who is your ideal client why? Who do we want rid of? There’s always one! These customers and people like them are your target audience and while this will differ greatly in every business and campaign, we must identify our ideal customers and build campaigns to target them. We must also know our business and how internal and external factors will affect our future performance. To understand this we create a SWOT analysis. Strengths | Weaknesses |  Opportunities | Threats

Within any business our aim is to focus on our strengths, take advantage of our opportunities and then honestly identify threats and weaknesses. All with the view to converting them to opportunities and strengths overtime.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

How many people put customer service as a strength of their business? While it may be a core strength of yours, most people believe that about their business and so we need to differentiate. Do you have fast lead times? Unique locations? Unrivalled experience? These strengths we can use as differentiators

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

Let’s use the little treats that were supplied by Krystal from Table, Inclusive Food. Thank you Krystal, by the way.

Looking at the website. I can see that the inclusivity of her catering, focusing on those events large or small where some guests may have with dietary requirements is a core strength of her business. If we step back from that, the menus themselves are not the standard event catering menus – vol au vents and cocktail sausages. We’re already narrowing our target market considerably to those potential customers we want to attract.

We do not want every customer, but we do want the right customer.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timebound
Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk
Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

Always use the suite of marketing tools at your disposal: Websites, Blog Posts, Social Media, Trade shows, Leaflets, Events, Prospecting letters, sales calls, advertising, referral schemes. In isolation these may work, but combined they will make up a robust marketing plan. How we communicate to our prospective customers is very much defined by where they are in our sales and marketing funnel.

Some of you may have seen this before or heard the acronym AIDA. For those of you that haven’t this funnel represents all your prospective customers at different stages of their buying cycle. How we communicate to these customers differs at each section of the funnel. We also added loyalty to the bottom as our focus is on customers for life.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

In the awareness phase. Prospects are searching for information. More common than not in this day and age, they might be searching on Google for a product or service. In an instance like this, our marketing strategy may be focused on search engine optimisation or local search engine marketing. We need top line visibility and to do so we engage in a digital marketing strategy. However this is a very crowded marketplace we need to have a sizeable resource focused on a digital campaign. The good news is, that any work we do here will be a huge benefit for the overall company.

After awareness is interest. The prospect has found our site and investigates our product range. They sign up to our mailing list and request a physical brochure in the post. We engage them with digital marketing ensuring they understand our offering.

Within the desire phase we must overcome the competition. This might be price but more often than not service and value, are more enticing factors. We create sales and marketing materials to answer the specific objections a client might have before they are asked.

At the action stage we may have a sale, but our work is not complete. Post sale follow up calls and review requests. “Was everything ok with your order” goes a long way.

Post sale, our goal is to convert a single purchase customer into a loyal repeat customer. Do you have a reactivation schedule? Or retargeting campaigns? What about a refer a friend scheme?

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

Finally I hear you say. This is what we’re here for.

Tell me about some marketing activity that worked or didn’t work for your business.

As you can see there is no magic formula in marketing that is guaranteed to work for every business. Every activity is similar but different and will be completely unique to your business.

By creating a plan and following it, we are preparing ourselves for success.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

This is a worksheet that we use to determine our marketing activities within Kaizen. Goal 1 might be to sell more roller banners.

We show 3 initiatives in this plan, but there could be many more, and many activities within each. If you build this document in google sheets it can be endless

For this project the initiative might be: Reactivation of past clients | Online Sales | Upcoming trade shows

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

Reactivation of past clients : Reactivation email | Follow up letter | Invitation to an upcoming event within their field.

Online Sales: Keyword planning | Blog Content creation | Social Campaigns |Email Marketing strategy

Upcoming trade shows : Tradeshow newsletter with list of relevant products | Targeted call list for our sales team | Youtube/Facebook videos on how to set up our exhibition stands retargeted to people who follow the event page of the tradeshow

In any of our activities we must define success. In a digital world this is easy with the avilability of digital channels. Every link that comes from Kaizen is built with the Google Campaign Builder. This means we can attribute the links to the specific campaign, activity and medium we use.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

An easier eway to do something similar is to use a link shortener like Bitly or Goo.gl. We can create bespoke links for all and then track clicks

Using this little circle as an example, it’s an ambient print piece. Nothing special. But if I tell you it was equipped with the latest technology I wouldn’t be lying. It’s a traditional print piece that bridges the gap in a digital world. Firstly we use QR Codes. While they previously had little uptake, if you own an iphone and open the camera app, it now scans them automatically.  With the latest version of IOS, near field contact or NFC is coming into the mass market. It’s already on android. So if you tap your phone on the perspex it will open the link automatically.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

How do we monitor the success of flyer printing – redemption, uptake or unique urls only visible on the printed medium.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

I am a huge fan of productivity and efficiency. But I’m also pretty disorganised with multiple reactive activities happening everyday. But that’s my role in business. To keep on top of marketing I use reminders apps, calendars and a good old fashion spreadsheet reminding me what activity I should have completed that day. I mark them off and move on to the next task.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

As you can see, a content plan doesn’t have to be complicated. if you create yours on Google Sheets you can link each block to project files or content written in Google Docs. We have an overall plan like this and then similar ones for ongoing activities such as content marketing. You can make these as complex as you want but as long as you can understand and take action from it, it can be in any format you want.

For me this is incredibly important in keeping our marketing activities on track. I try to block out time each day for any activity I engage in but having something to refer back to is critical in maintaining this over a long period. We cant keep everything up here

As a marketer, I want to know that I’m making a positive impact in the business with every campaign. As a business owner I know our resources are finite and we must make a positive return on every spend we have. Even if just my time. Being able to quantify our activities, good or bad will help us ensure we make the right choices in our marketing plans. Now and in the future

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

If I worked within a chain of bars and restaurants and I had an upcoming Christmas campaign. I could quantify the success of my campaign, by how many people booked for christmas dinners and the value of their meal. In the absence of those exact figures, I could also quantify that the page on the website relevant to Christmas had a larger number of visits after we sent out the mailer or social posts. There may be a rise in enquiries we can quantify also.

From our traditional media, we may have created a christmas event leaflet with a booking form on a single panel. The return of this filled in as a booking form shows our offline marketing drove sales.

Now as an effective marketer, I’ll make sure that everyone coming for Christmas dinner also gets a voucher for use in January when we are traditionally quieter. I can quantify the success of this by how many are redeemed in January.

Creating a robust marketing plan - Connor McAuley, MD at Kaizen Print https://kaizenprint.co.uk

Conclusion

Thanks so much for those who took the time out of their days to attend our marketing event. Regardless of your industry or business, we as marketing and sales professionals all face similar challenges. Using our guide above we hope to help demystify the steps to creating a very robust marketing plan.