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Andrea Hill

Follow These Steps to Streamline Your Marketing and Achieve Higher Sales

These seven actions will give you confidence and a detailed plan of action.




YEARS AGO, I was setting up a marketing planning process in a company I had been hired to run, and the owner said, “We don’t do exercises like that here. They’re a waste of time.”

He treated the word exercise with disdain. But I’ve always thought of exercise as a way to improve strength, hone skills, and achieve results.

In business, the word for exercise is process, and like exercise, we use processes for stability, longevity, and muscle-building. The problem with most marketing planning in the small business sector is that it isn’t done as a process, so its output isn’t predictable.

The Process

Step 1: Assemble the following data for a comprehensive understanding of your facts:

  • Market data. Review industry performance overall and by category. See how your business compares.
    Competitive analysis. How many employees do they have? What are their operating hours? What brands do they carry? What price points do they advertise?How do these details compare to previous years?
  • Behavioral data. How did your customers respond to your marketing and sales efforts, including email and social media engagement, website visits, store visits, purchases, purchase sizes, margins, repeat orders, returns and referrals?

Step 2: Analyze. Rate the tactics you used in the prior year relative to results. Note which of your story elements are factual and which are assumptions. It is acceptable to use assumptions, but you must highlight them so you can monitor any decisions based on assumptions.


Step 3: Review and (if necessary) update your target customer (also known as Ideal Customer Profile, or ICP). Reviewing your ICP focuses you on weighing each marketing idea against your ICP’s interests and needs.

Step 4: Commit to a budget and set goals. Set spending, sales, revenue and margin goals. This will help to ensure each plan is weighed against its ability to deliver the desired results.

Step 5: Develop marketing strategies. These include messaging, campaigns, media … all the combined tools you can use to achieve your marketing objectives. Steps 1 through 4 will provide insight into which strategies you should pursue.

Step 6: Establish metrics. These metrics should align with achieving your goals and staying on budget. Comparing plans to actuals will help you know if you are staying on track from day one.

Step 7: Make a plan and a schedule. Q1 schedules should be highly detailed; actual results and market conditions will lead to modifications and new opportunities throughout the year.

In that old company, I did implement marketing plans (and all the other exercises). The company grew profitably and significantly. You can fill a library with books about all the different ways to market, but if you overlay this outline of process, you will get it right more often than not.




This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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