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Marketing Plans [Part 3] 

April/03/2006

Hi,

Many wonderful things are happening since my last issue.  Here is a short "table of contents" for you:

 

Surf the Net More Efficiently:

I've collected just a few of my favorite tips and tricks for surfing the net.  (Do you have a tip to share?  Please send it to me HERE

Multiple Windows - When using Microsoft's Internet Explorer, I will typically use the "open in new window" feature found when you hover over a clickable link, right click and the cursor menu will open to reveal the "open in new window" option.  This is great when I have not yet finished using the page I am on, and am afraid I will lose my place.  The new window allows me to hold my place, and explore a new tangent.

Exact Phrase Searching - Are you tired of going to a search engine like www.Google.com and getting 40 million results, and yet NONE of the results on the first page are what your looking for???  Try using an exact phrase search by placing your words in "quotes" and see what happens to the quality of your results.  Here is an example: Perform the search on Business Strategy Consulting, without quotes delivers 98,300,000 results yet add quotes and search "Business Strategy Consulting" and you will get 78,900 results or about 92% fewer results!

Podcasts and Blog Searches - Need to find a blog or a podcast?  Begin your search by opening a free account with www.BlogLines.com and www.iPodder.com 

Browser Tool Bars - I typically refuse to install any kind of browser tool bar, I've said NO to Yahoo, Google, Alexa and a host of others.  I find most offer redundant services I already have, and clutter up the top of my browser, making the browsable area smaller.  Not to mention the many others that are just cloaking devices for malicious spyware.  

I have only ever made one exception.  Forget for a moment that there is a small text ad (that I've conveniently slid out of view) and a subtle MLM-ish-ness to it's rapid growth as I could care less about the so-called "Biz-Op".  This free tool is actually the best I've ever seen and is jam-packed with hundreds of invaluable resources that are all just one click away. 

Learn which browser toolbar I am using - take my survey here at www.AltiConsulting.com/ask 

Your Opinion Counts - Plus Get $200 of Free Tools:

Can you click a checkbox?

Do you have 2 minutes?

Would you like $200 of free productivity tools
previewed, tested and currently in use by yours truely?

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www.AltiConsulting.com/ask 

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DEVELOPING MARKETING PLANS [PART 3]:

Listen to the Podcast Here:

total running time: 16:00 --  Download the MP3 here

This is part 3 of what looks to be shaping up into a 4 part series.

In part 1 we learned that an effective, quality marketing plan is part strategy, part compass, and part road-map and must encompass the present, the near future and the long term. 

We learned that conducting a market potential feasibility analysis is like a COMPASS, it orients us as to the direction we want to travel, identifying for us our market – the “true north”.

We also learned that we needed a ROAD-MAP, to understand our environment and that we used 3 tools, a PEST analysis, Porters 5 Forces analysis and a Positioning Grid to gain insight into obstacles, competition and the topography of an industry.

You’ve now created a compass and a business environment road-map, the next step is to find your origin – or “where you are”. The key to using any map is to first determine where you are, (identifying your relative location on the map).  Once we know this, then we can begin to identify WHERE on the map you want to go.  

Your Financial Data - The Business Equivalent Of GPS
To identify your originating location, you will need to create a picture, in financial terms, of the current state of your business.  State this in terms of your sales volume, the number of people employed, the number of units sold, the number of clients or customers that you are servicing.  If you’re a service firm, use the number of billable hours delivered.  These are the metrics required to communicate the growth and health of the company.

Other questions you should answer:

  • Does your business currently have sales? 

  • Have you taken on investment capital?

  • Is your company currently growing?

  • Are there any trends that you have noticed over the course of your lifetime of your venture? Specifically in the last 12-24 months. 

  • What notable activity has been taken on?

  • Has there been a new or major contracts signed or have you secured new purchase orders?

  • If you do not have sales, how close are you to launching your product to the market?

  • How many units will you need to sell to break even on an operating basis?

  • How many units will you need to sell to turn a profit? 

Clearly answering questions like those above quantifies your starting point, where the business and what it’s going to take to get the company to the point of generating sales.

Before you embark on a journey or an expedition, you will need to take a sober inventory of your resources, your supplies, your capabilities and skills.

The SWOT – Understanding your Capabilities
The best tool for taking an inventory of your businesses resources and capabilities is a SWOTS analysis which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
The SWOT provides a framework for reviewing strategy, position and direction of a company, a proposition, or even an idea.  Remember, A SWOT analysis measures a business unit, a proposition or idea; a PEST analysis measures a market.  My friend Alan Chapman describes the SWOT further…

The SWOT analysis template is normally presented as a grid, comprising four sections, one for each of the SWOT headings: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Download afree SWOT template from the link below that includes sample questions, whose answers are inserted into the relevant section of the SWOT grid. The questions are examples, or discussion points, and obviously can be altered depending on the subject of the SWOT analysis.

Note that many of the SWOT questions are also talking points for other headings - use them as you find most helpful, and make up your own to suit the issue being analysed.

It is important to clearly identify the subject of a SWOT analysis, because a SWOT analysis is a perspective of one thing, be it a company, a product, a proposition, and idea, a method, or option, etc.”  

– Alan Chapman, www.alanchapman.com  

For the free SWOT template, go to www.alanchapman.com/swotanalysisfreetemplate.htm to download.

Identifying The Intended Destination
The next stage, where do you want to go is like choosing a destination on the map. This can be done in two ways; by extrapolation and by reverse engineering.

Destination By Extrapolation: If you have an established business, you will want to look at the trends that have been driving your growth to now, and extrapolate those trends outward in time to create a picture of where the business is going in the next year, 3 years, or 5 years.  This method is often the more conservative method.

Destination By Reverse Engineering: Using your market data and competitive intelligence in the industry, you should have somewhat reliable forecasts on the industry, its growth and sales volume in 5 to 10 years.  

When you integrate your competitive analysis, you should have some idea of leading market share and average market share – along with the resources those companies are leveraging to hold the position the currently occupy.  By plotting your company’s “targeted destination” in 5 to 10 years, you can work backwards building a bridge to where the company is now.

I prefer to use both methods and overlay them to show the differences in destinations along with how the path for each varies. This combined technique helps to assure your destination is plausible and in harmony with the conventionally accepted market forecasts and potentially attainable under current trends.  Basically, you are headed to somewhere real on your road map.

NOTE:  WE HAVE NOT YET SELECTED A FINAL DESTINATION.  You will likely choose a path in between the reverse engineered and the extrapolated.  But before we choose a path, now is a good time to double, triple and quadruple check all your data. It is very important that your estimates and forecasts are based on real market and competitor data and you will have to justify all your assumptions that you are basing your forecasts on.

Translating Analysis Into Business Language
You need to quantify key positions along the reverse engineered and extrapolated paths
in terms of sales volume, people employed, units sold or shipped, clients or customers being serviced.  If you’re a service firm, use the number of billable hours delivered.  These are the metrics required to communicate the position or location along either of your growth routes.

This insight will prove critical as you enter into our next stage of plotting your course which will be covered in Part 4 of creating effective, quality marketing plans.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback specifically related to developing marketing plans?  I encourage you to send all responses to me at and I'll do my best to integrate answers throughout the series as we go.

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PLEASE: STAY IN TOUCH
And never miss out on future lessons

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Up-Coming Topics For Discussion:  

  • Marketing Plans (part 4)

  • eMail Marketing

  • Creating Joint Ventures and Alliances

  • Using the Web for Listbuilding

  • Creating a Funding Strategy

  • Managing and Evaluating Ideas 

Want to suggest a topic, ask a question or offer a comment?  Please send your input to me at

To your success,

Allan Sabo
Chief Success Advisor
ALTI Success Strategies



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