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What separates great companies from the rest of the pack? Sometimes it’s superior technology, as is the case with Google. Other times, it’s design—think Apple. On rare occasions, it’s both. Anyone that’s ever worn a pair of Assos cycling shorts knows exactly what I’m talking about. While superior technology and design may be frequent attributes found in great large companies, the same is not true when the conversation shifts to great local / regional companies.
Over the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to review and evaluate thousands of local companies. Based on much research and personal experience, I can confidently say that the most common difference between great local companies and everyone else is that the great companies focus relentlessly on the perfect execution of, what are ultimately, very basic things.
By basic, I mean things like a clearly defined company mission / core values AND a written marketing strategy and implementation plan.
When to Create Your Marketing Plan
If you have a marketing strategy and implementation plan, when is the last time you reviewed it? Ian Aronovich, president and co-founder of GovernmentAuctions.org, offers this important reminder: “As time goes on and your business landscape, situation, and opportunities change, you should update your marketing plans as required.” Domenick Cilea, president of Springboard PR, recommends evaluating your efforts quarterly.
I agree with Ian and Domenick’s advice—especially if your business is seasonal and/or has weather-driven fluctuations. Blue Corona does a lot of web marketing for HVAC companies. If you own an HVAC company and you have an unseasonably cool spring/summer, you might not spend nearly what you would have on pay per click advertising as you would have had it been blazing hot. In this scenario, you’d be wise to make adjustments for the fall/winter.
If you don’t already have a plan, don’t do what most local business owners do and wait until Thanksgiving to start creating it—in almost every instance, that’s way too late. In addition to continually updating and re-evaluating your marketing plan throughout the year, in my experience, the best time to start laying the foundation for next year is in the summer (i.e. right now if you’re reading this when I published it).
Michelle Brammer, marketing and PR manager for eZanga, says, “the summer and early fall tends to be quieter in our industry, so this is the time we lay the foundation for marketing efforts in the first half of next year.” Wise words. Like eZanga, the summer is a slow time for many industries. It’s tempting to see a competitor enjoying their summer and let your mind drift off to thoughts of the beach, but you must resist! As Ben Horowitz says in his book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, “embrace the struggle!”
Let your competitor sing and dance their summer away like the grasshopper in the classic fable of the grasshopper and the ant. Keep your head down and stay focused. A focused summer spent planning is frequently the precursor to a record breaking next year.
Get Started Now
Having a defined strategy and execution plan for increasing brand awareness within your target market, positioning and differentiating your company vs. competitors, and generating a steady stream of qualified, warm leads—a.k.a. a marketing plan—is critically important if you intend to build a truly great company.
According to a new forecast from eMarketer, digital ad spending will be greater in 2015 than that of print, radio, and outdoor—combined.
Given the current and growing importance of digital, a logical step to take before creating your plan is to get a thorough analysis of your company’s website and overall online marketing presence (as well as how your competitors stack up).
Fill out the form below for a free website analysis or request a free competitor analysis.
If you already have a written marketing strategy and plan, that’s awesome (why are you here?). If you don’t, there’s never been a better time to get started! Need help or have questions? Drop us a line and request a free consultation!
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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