Marketing on the Go with a 90-Day Plan

You need a plan in place if you're going to hit your targets. See? It's a metaphor. Image: Baimieng / Shutterstock

Do you market your brand on the go or do you have a true marketing plan in place?

If you said both, great answer!

Marketing is not intended to be static. You simply cannot “plan it and forget about it.” It’s imperative that you consistently check in on your marketing plan and the efforts made to inquire if there needs to be any shift in spending or direction.

The unfortunate truth is that when brands decide to up their marketing efforts (usually at the start or end of the year), they don’t create a marketing plan first. They only look at the now and not the future.

"How can I get traffic tomorrow?"

This often results in an idea or campaign that falls flat on its face, leaving management wondering why their “million-dollar idea” didn’t work.

You need to create a plan and then adjust it “on the go” throughout the year or quarter. Marketing shouldn’t be looked at as an effort to create overnight success.

Winning plans take time to create, design, launch, and nurture.

So, What is a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan provides your brand with an intelligent direction towards scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent operations.

That may sound like a lot of work, but creating a destination that formulates those key characteristics and one that stands out from the crowd is often easier to map out than many seem to think.

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You need to create emotion while building three things: trust, credibility, and relationships.

That is the purpose of your marketing plan.

The 90-Day Plan

If you’re not in a position to hire a marketing agency at this time—no problem—look to complete your own 90-day marketing plan, but make sure you have the capacity and a team that’s ready to execute.

Your marketing plan should consist of the following segments, at a minimum. First, create an ideal guest profile, including detailed socio-demographics within your hyper-local area. Ensure you answer the following questions:

  • What is their age bracket?
  • What are their spending habits?
  • How much disposable income do they have each month?
  • How can you get your message in front of them?
  • How far are they willing to travel for F&B and entertainment?
  • Furthermore, how will they get to your venue?
  • Who else in your area is targeting this exact customer profile?
  • What will make your brand stand out from the noise in the area?
  • How many times per month will they or can they visit you?
  • How often do you need them to return to reach your goals?
  • How many of these individuals exist in your area?

From there, develop a summary of goals for your brand, broken down using the SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) for the following:

  • Driving awareness. Example: Spending 15 percent of our marketing budget on a campaign that will generate 250,000 local impressions.
  • Increasing revenue per guest. Example: Increasing revenue per guest for 20 percent or $3.50 over next three months.
  • Generating repeat guest opportunities. Example: Achieving a return visit by 25 percent of guests within two weeks of their first visit.
  • Your challenge: Try to formulate, at minimum, three SMART goals for each of the above.

Once you know the market details and your goals that will help you become profitable, it’s time to develop your core strategies for how you’re going to reach those goals in addition to how much it’s going to cost.

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In terms of costs, your monthly and quarterly budgets should be approximately four to six percent of your generated revenue. For the average independent restaurant or bar, this could mean approximately $5,500 per month (using the metric of $110,000 per month in revenue).

This budget should be disbursed into a variety of programs, channels, and/or campaigns that make up your core strategy as they align with both your target market and goals to drive a profitable (minimum 5x) return on investment (ROI).

  • Your core strategies should focus around advertising, promotional, publicity, public relations, sales, and street activation efforts. Each strategy must also convey a consistent message as it relates to your brand while having a measurable component. These are the fundamentals of a winning strategy.
  • Be as detailed as possible with each of the strategies within your plan. Know your market, know your goals, know your numbers, and don’t be afraid to get others on your team involved by creating a small marketing department.
  • It doesn’t matter if it is a video campaign, social media campaign, a live band or DJ, a happy hour special, or any other type of program—can each strategy you create utilize each of the above fundamentals to reach your target market and surpass your goals while fitting with your allocated budget?

If not, go back to the drawing board and find a way to make it work.

  • If you answered yes to the question above, it’s time to create your 90-day marketing calendar. This is where accountability starts. List out your core strategies with realistic timelines to develop, launch, and review your strategies over the next 90 days, along with the budgets and who is responsible for each strategy in an organized calendar format.
  • Make time each week to review progress and analyze if your strategies are under- or overperforming or if they need to be adjusted or if they need further nurturing.

Once the first 90 days are complete, it’s time to review the full outcome, make adjustments (be flexible and open to change), and repeat these steps for the next 90 days by taking consistent action. In summary:

  • Do your research.
  • Create SMART objectives.
  • Develop a strategic plan.
  • Engage with your target community.
  • Analyze your results on the go.
  • Make adjustments on the go.
  • 5x your investment (at minimum).
  • Utilize the data you’ve collected.
  • Re-invest in your marketing (repeat).

Today, paying guests are complicated, emotional, and confused individuals. Their buying is often based on subjectivity and not often backed by objectivity.

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Therefore, don’t be afraid to try new strategies (by being creative) to make your venue a destination where your guests are excited to visit, where your staff is excited to work, and one that you’re excited to lead.

Your ongoing 90-day marketing plan can help do all of that!

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