Marketing Mondays: Is it Working?

For this week's Marketing Monday, I'm going to share Elisabeth McMillan's four signs of a successful marketing plan. Elisabeth is owner and editor of EquestrianProfessional.com. She speaks at equestrian organization meetings around the United States and has worked for high-profile equestrian athletes and equestrian-oriented businesses – including companies such as Monaco Coach, Equestrian Designs and Patagonia Clothing Company. She also has 25+ years of experience directly in the horse industry. Check out her site for a wealth of horse business marketing advice and resources.
Here's Elisabeth's four signs of a successful marketing plan:

SIGN #1 –  You receive a steady stream of new customers
The first benefit of a well executed marketing plan is that it creates predicable growth both in numbers of new customers and type. A good marketing plan doesn't just attract “any ole” customer. It attracts the best customer for you.If your business is not predictable in terms of growth- check the consistency of your marketing. An inconsistent approach to marketing can create inconsistent growth. If your marketing is not attracting the right type of customer – check your branding and marketing message. Your marketing may be connecting with “Mr. Wrong” instead of “Miss Right.”

SIGN #2 –  Your current customers are “on track” and extremely happy about it
It's easy to just think about how marketing can be used to attract new customers. However, one of the biggest benefits of a good marketing plan is its ability to positively influence current customers. The horse business requires long term relationships and unified goals (i.e. customer goals must be in tune with the business goals in order for both to be successful.) And this is where a marketing plan that includes current customers can really help you. For example: If  customers enter your business early in their riding career as riding school students, your marketing plan can encourage them to progress into horse owners. Once they are horse owners, your marketing plan can encourage and support them in competing at more horse shows.  In other words, your marketing plan can be instrumental in helping your clients and business progress.

SIGN #3 – Profitability
Successful marketing plans don't just promote – they educate. When your customers are clear about the value you provide, it is far easier to price your services accordingly. Horse business owners who successfully market themselves are typically able to price their services based on value not just on the “going rate.” They are able to charge more and their customers are happy to pay it because they understand its value. This can help you avoid the trap of “competing on price” with other barns in your area.

SIGN # 4 – Reach
A good marketing plan reaches beyond the first layer of people that it touches. It doesn't just reach “to” – it reaches out “through” your customers. A clear value proposition is paramount. Word of mouth is powerful and a business whose loyal customers accurately tout its praises is destined for success. For example: When you “overhear” your customers saying “just the right thing” about you to other people – you know your marketing message is clear and effective.

Hope you enjoyed this edition of Marketing Mondays, see you next week!