c) The Internet is now firmly established as the principal source of reference information for customers, making a web site a necessity. It is also worth being aware of any chat rooms where subjects related to your sector of the industry are discussed. These can provide valuable market information as well as offering low cost methods for you to communicate with your customers.
d) A newsletter also provides a means of communicating with your market. This can either be hard copy or sent by e-mail. If using e-mail ensure that all recipients have requested the newsletter, otherwise it will not meet anti-spam legislation.
Needless to say, all forms of communication should be consistent and present a positive image. Communication is a two-way process. As well as telling your customers and potential customers about your company's products and services you need to be listening to what they think of you. This can be achieved through sales feedback and customer surveys.
In this section, show current and historical financial data, projected income statements for the coming year, and balance sheets. Some companies forecast product needs in this section.
Gaining day-to-day control is the advantage of doing a plan. We can all fool ourselves and insist we know what to do and are doing it. Yet there often is not enough time in a day, or the right people to implement your plan to ensure success. Entrepreneurs are creative, out-of-the-box thinkers and risk takers. So monitoring your plan will let you gauge how well you are truly doing.
A marketing plan is important to your businesses' long-term health. It should be reviewed quarterly to ensure you are meeting your objectives and to "tweak" it when necessary. If you do not have specific tactics you are leaving your company vulnerable to the competition and may find that your competitors have evolved leaving you with a declining or unprofitable business.
The more time you spend on planning and implementing your plan of action; the greater the growth, the lower your marketing expenditure, and the more proactive and healthier your company. Very often the weak link in this will be your own people. They need to be informed about, understand, and be committed to the company's vision and values.
Linda Hanson, CMC, is a certified management consultant and author of 10 Steps to Marketing Success. She writes, speaks and consults on marketing, management and customer service issues and can be contacted at www.llhenterprises.com. Sign up for her free newsletter The Superior Performance Report.