Give your firm a sustainable competitive advantage

This guide can help you write a marketing plan in 60 minutes. It follows our tried and tested methodology that has helped numerous accountants, solicitors and other professional services firms implement successful growth strategies. Once you have got the basic framework, you can build on your success over the coming months.

Current situation: where are you now?

Describe your marketing and business development (BD) activities in brief. What have you been doing up until now. What worked? What didn’t work? If you haven’t been doing anything, what is stopping you? Think about your competitors and what they are doing. What could you do better or differently?

Objectives: what do you wish to achieve?

Marketing objectives (and activities) need to be aligned with the needs of the business. The objectives should be defined in specific terms so progress can be tracked and measured and if necessary take corrective action. Examples of typical marketing objectives include:

    · Increase the number of clients by 10%

    · Grow market share by 5%

    · Successfully launch new services in particular markets or segments

    · Increase client referrals by 20%

Strategy: how are we going do this?

The marketing strategy is about the approach a firm takes to achieving marketing objectives. For example, if an objective is to increase number of client referrals by 20%, the strategy may to enhance client relationships. An increase in the number of new clients may be achieved through market penetration, or expanding into new markets.

Tactics and actions: what are we actually going to do?

This is about implementing the activities to achieve the objectives and strategic drivers. It includes things like the website, events, advertising, newsletters, referrers, social media, branding, networking, presentations, directory entries and internal communications. List the key activities, who is going to do them and by when.

Measurement and controls

If we can’t measure it, we’re not going to do it. This needs to be your mantra. To succeed you have to truly understand what value you are getting for your effort. Start by setting some basic KPIs and targets to measure your success. The ultimate measure of success will be for business leaders to be using the information to correct your course.

That’s pretty much it. You have started and written the first draft of your plan. Your plan should be fluid in the sense it needs to adapt as your firm changes and heads in new directions or reacts to market forces. Build on your plan or even write a full strategy. Remember though, the success will lie in the execution – it’s about getting stuff done, not just strategy.

Email tom.horigan@horigan.co.uk for a free marketing plan template.

www.horigan.co.uk