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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Preparing a marketing plan - checklist

From describing your market and researching customers to preparing sales forecasts and budgets, learn how to create a marketing plan.

  • Describe your market and the characteristics and size of each market segment; review key market trends.
  • Research what customers value, such as product features, quality, image or customer service.
  • Compare the distribution channels for reaching customers (eg direct sales, online or through retailers).
  • Profile your competitors and what they’re offering.
  • Identify other key factors influencing your business environment; carry out a SWOT analysis of your competitive position (SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
  • Review the effectiveness of previous marketing initiatives such as advertising campaigns or sales.
  • Assess the profitability and sales potential of different customers and market segments, and of different products or activities.
  • Decide who to target among both existing and potential customers; decide which products to push and those which need updating or replacing.
  • Set specific objectives: for example, retaining existing customers, increasing order sizes, selling new products or winning new customers.
  • Decide how you will price each product or service.
  • Decide how you will distribute and sell; plan how you can improve customer service and satisfaction.
  • Plan how you will promote your products or services, and how you will keep in touch with customers.
  • Confirm the implications of your marketing plan for the rest of your business: production and training requirements, for instance.

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