Marketing Corner: 7 steps to creating a marketing strategy

You’re not going to get anywhere without knowing where you’re going, whether its driving down the road or marketing your business.

Here are 7 easy steps to getting you started on creating a marketing strategy.

1. A little introspection

Bring managers and other key employees together to brainstorm about your company. What are your strengths? (i.e., a strong boat brand, good repeat business) What are your weaknesses? (i.e., an off-water location, an aging buyer)

2. Identify your target

Before you can come up with a plan for external communications, figure out whom you are trying to reach. Who are you trying to sell to? What matters to them? Where do they spend their time (in person and online)?

3. Find out what customers think about you

Survey current, past and potential customers to find out what they think (if anything) of your company. Offer incentives, such as free boat show tickets, to boost response rate.

4. Combine the lists

Where is the crossover on the three lists? For example, a weakness selling to younger buyers because they think your quality boat brand is unaffordable. Can you address that by showing affordability of a monthly payment?

Look for the intersection of your strengths and your target market to find natural areas to promote.

5. Create concrete steps

How, specifically, are you going to reach out to these target audiences? For example, are you going to post once a day on Facebook? Are you going to advertise once a month in the local weekly shopper?

6. Track results

Create benchmarks for your marketing results. Use these to make sure you are spending your money most effectively. Make sure the team is collecting that information. Consider creating dedicated landing pages or phone numbers for large campaigns. Take advantage of the tracking opportunities available online.

7. Set responsibility

Decide who in the company is going to responsible to execute each part of the plan. For example, who is going to manage your Facebook page? Whose job is it to track leads?

For more on crafting a marketing plan, be sure to check out our feature in the March issue of Boating Industry.

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