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Discover Potential Gaps In Your Marketing Foundation

A house built on granite and strong foundations, not even the onslaught of pouring rain, gushing torrents and strong winds will be able to pull down.— Haile Selassie

As a small business owner, you may find it difficult to define your message, which can in turn hinder your financial success. Your messaging and brand identity is key to the development of a strong foundation. So, one of the first things you need to do is thoroughly evaluate your marketing foundation in order to make sure you’re on solid ground.

Marketing challenges may be among the most frustrating for small business owners, because getting the marketing right is simply crucial to success. If there are any gaps in a marketing foundation, it can stop or slow a business from growing. No matter the product or service type, small-business owners everywhere have been through a couple of truly crazy years.  Now, many of us have taken a much needed step back and see that there’s room for growth and development.

So how can you ensure that you’re doing all you can to reinforce your foundation?

How to Move Forward…and Find The Gaps

Even if you are committed to growing your business, you may find it challenging to pinpoint ways to move forward. Having a solid marketing foundation allows you to create a plan that’s both strategic and effective. You don’t really need an expensive agency or a complex marketing plan…in truth, the more complex it is, the more likely it is that no one will ever look at it.

What you do need is a simple, easily understood and actionable plan that has goals you can achieve.

The most efficient way of finding out how solid your marketing foundation is is to evaluate your program. But, most of us have gaps in our marketing foundation. This is normal — almost everyone has an area or two that could use improvement. It’s just a matter of 1) figuring out where those gaps are and, 2) using the five key focus questions below to realign and strengthen our weak areas.

Uncover Those Gaps with These Questions

You can’t truly understand where you are going unless you know where you are today.  You can spend as little or as much time as you want on understanding your current situation, but here are the questions that you need to understand about your small business:

What’s the organization’s purpose (plus vision and mission)? In order to determine purpose, every company needs to be able to answer three distinct questions: the WHY, the WHAT and the HOW. Your purpose is the WHY, your vision is the WHAT and your mission is the HOW of your business. It’s worth spending time on these and bringing to light your motivation for the business.

What are your superpowers (and your weaknesses)? What are your opportunities and what are your threats? A superpower is a strength that you have that your competitor does not. Of course along with that, you’ll need to understand your weaknesses as well.  When you add in opportunities and threats, you might be thinking you should do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).  In fact, that’s exactly what you need to do…and you can use our SWOT worksheet to help you out.

What are your goals and objectives? Develop your goals and objectives in such a way that you can capitalize on opportunities for growth. Do you want to increase sales?  Generate more leads?  Become a thought leader in your industry? It’s important to know the answer to this before you come up with a marketing plan to execute.

Who is your target market? To embark on a successful look at your marketing foundation, you really need to know who your ideal audience is. Who are those customers that you want to speak to?  You need to uncover key demographic details — things like their age, education level, gender, and any specific challenges that they may encounter. To get started, we’ve created an Ideal Customer Worksheet (also referred to as a persona) for you to get started figuring out who you should be writing your content for.

What does your ecosystem of tools look like? Simply put, what marketing tools are you using today?  There are so many at our disposal:  social media, websites, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimization (SEO)…the list is lengthy.  What’s important is that your tools are supporting your goals and objectives. And remember, sometimes you have to make choices in order not to overextend yourself or your team.

Moving Forward with Your Marketing

After you answer those questions, you may begin to see your path forward. You also might consider sharing your answers (or even asking for answers) from your team and your key stakeholders. To help you get started, we’ve created an evaluation worksheet that will help you focus your energy and limited time on this very important task.

At TomatoFish, we have identified four marketing pillars that — when together —create a solid execution strategy that allows you to most effectively develop and build upon your marketing foundation. Those pillars are:

  • Branding and identity management. A strong brand is your company’s biggest asset. Make no mistake, having a great brand will help differentiate you from your competition.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The purpose of having a CRM is to manage all of your customer data in one central location. Better organization means better for your bottom line.

  • Online presence (website). Your website is the homebase for anyone who might be searching for you online. It’s the place where anyone can interact with you from anywhere in the world.

  • Outbound marketing (email). Targeted email is a great way to engage with your customers and build brand awareness through measurable interactions.

Wherever you are in your journey, taking the time to look at your marketing foundation will help you create a strategy that will move your business forward… no matter what the current environment looks like.

Head on over to our Discover redMAP page if you’d like to know more. You can take a free assessment of your own business there as well as schedule a quick call with us if you are stuck on where to go next. We’d love to help!

Tomato Fish Marketing Is An Indianapolis Marketing Company Focused On Helping Small And Midsize Businesses Make Good Strategic Planning Decisions.