Copyright Niki Tudge, The DogSmith Founder. December 2011
All businesses whether large or small, private or public, profit or not for profit and whether they sell ideas, products or services need to promote their organization’s mission. It is important to acknowledge and understand the importance of developing and maintaining a visible and credible identity through consistent marketing activities so your business can attract more customers and promote new services and products to existing clients.
Here at The DogSmith one of our key organizational goals is to provide pet dog owners affordable, humane, force-free pet dog training services and we are committed to developing a strong and consistent image supported by effective marketing tools to help promote our individual DogSmiths in our mutual goal of reaching out to the pet dog-owning community through animal rescue groups, veterinarians and other industry partners.
Our strategic plan concentrates on moving our business forward; it focuses on areas such as our organization’s goals, available resources and how we will successfully conduct business in our industry. A key part of this strategic plan is the development of our marketing plan. Our marketing plan defines what has to be done proactively so we can shape our destiny rather than being reactive in an ever-changing and dynamic business environment.
Our marketing plan includes all of our marketing activities and tactics. This makes up our marketing mix which includes four elements. These four elements are 1) the product, 2) price, 3) channels of distribution and 4) the integrated marketing communication plan.
The product/service mix is comprised of our total product/service concept, not just the physical product such as the DogSmith services options, but also includes a collection of our user benefits, branding and labeling. That way we can differentiate ourselves from other dog training and pet care businesses. Pricing decisions must be made for all organizations whether they are profit or non-profit. Our channels of distribution details how we reach our end consumer and referral partners, and how we can support our individual DogSmith owners to reach their customers. The integrated marketing communication plan (MARCOM) looks at all of these variables used to communicate our important message.
Every year, a key area of development for our strategic plan is developing a realistic, measurable and integrated Marketing Communication Plan. Our MARCOM needs to be measurable because we need to determine if our objectives are met; Realistic because we will be allocating valuable resources to this communication plan; and integrated because it is not a “stand alone plan” but a key tool and tactic of our overall marketing plan and business goals.
The Marketing Communication Plan helps us ensure that we send a clear, cohesive and consistent message to our customers, DogSmith owners and industry partners whether our message is delivered through our Facebook page, event booths and advertising campaigns or through our collection of developed marketing collateral, flyers, brochures and other media used by DogSmith owners. This strategic approach to our communication plan helps us strengthen our brand identity and create value around our DogSmith credentials.
The primary tools we use include advertising, reminder information or persuasive messages communicated to a targeted audience, personal selling, benefiting from one-on-one communication, public relations, the use of mass media to communicate our organizational image, referrals networks, industry partnerships and, last but not least, marketing our brand through a variety of effective Internet resources.
The key to our strategic success in 2012 will be the effective use of our marketing tactics through diligent strategic planning and well thought-out implementation timelines and methods. From the organization’s perspective and a DogSmith’s perspective there will be lots of communication tools on hand to ensure we can overwhelm the competition, reach our target audience and drive forward to reach our goals.