A marketing plan is a key component to any business’s success. It defines who we are, where we are, where we’re planning to go, how we’re going to get there and how much the journey will cost. It tells us where work is going to come from and spells out what we’re going to do to attract a consistent stream of work, what our targets will be and how much we’re going to spend to reach those targets.
A marketing plan generally comprises 30 percent of an overall business plan. Business plan? What’s a business plan? Most collision repair facilities don’t have either a business plan or a marketing plan because they’re intimidated by business planning in general. But building a marketing plan is a great place to start.
“Build a marketing plan? Why bother? I’ve got my marketing plan right up here,” a shop owner might say, pointing to his head. While that’s common, it’s not as effective as a written marketing plan.
Many view the process of building a marketing plan as too difficult, too complex and too time-consuming. But creating one need not be complicated. The tough part is getting started, then sticking with it. An effective and simple marketing plan has five components (listed in the order in which they should be created):
1. Value proposition
2. Current circumstances
3. Goals and objectives
4. Critical Operating Tasks (COTs) and tactics
5. Financial implications.
Value proposition: A statement of what your business is all about. Why do customers buy from you and how are you different than your competition? Some refer to this as a mission statement or determining your USP or unique selling proposition. This is an important document as all marketing decisions will be measured by how they conform to your value proposition.
Current circumstances: This is a summary of what you’re doing now and how well those things are working. Where is your work coming from now? What marketing tools are currently being used? What’s being spent on marketing now?
Goals and objectives: What new markets would you like to reach? Would you like to grow business in a geographical area or add a DRP? Perhaps you would like to reduce dependence on a DRP or grow additional customer referral business?
COTs and tactics: COTs are what we’re going to do to achieve our goals and objectives. Tactics spell out how we’ll achieve the COTs, who will do them and when they’ll be done. Each goal may have multiple COTs and each COT may have multiple tactics.
Financial implications: We need to budget for marketing. How much will we spend and what will be the impact of those expenditures? What key performance indicators (KPIs) will we watch to see if we’ve achieved our goals?
Hank Nunn is the president of H W Nunn & Associates, a collision industry consulting company. Hank is the Sales and Marketing Manager and Facilitator for DuPont SMART Seminar series. Hank may be contacted at [email protected]