Yesterday, we discussed Goals and Objectives. Now we begin to delve in the actual mechanics of a Marketing Plan. Strategies answer “how” the travel agency is going to accomplish its objectives. For example, exactly how will the company achieve 50 new clients between now and the end of the year? The strategy for achieving that objective might read something like this: “In order to achieve the acquisition of 50 new clients in 8 months, the company will increase the number of distribution channels through which it markets and increase its overall marketing investment.” Note that in the process of forming a strategy the company must take into consideration its resources. This is the point at which the company should evaluate its marketing budget, the personnel available to carry out strategy, and the intra-company support necessary to achieve objectives.
Some of your strategies, for example, the engagement of a new niche market, will require much more extensive planning and preparation. In fact, a strategy as encompassing as a new niche market may involve a “plan within a plan” with its own goals, objectives, and strategies.
Tactics are the “action items” of your marketing plan. Tactics are about the real execution of the strategies you elect to use. So, if your strategy involves increasing the number of distribution channels you use to reach out to the market, the tactic will be to choose those channels, to work with the media and contacts in each channel and to set up calendar dates and begin working on content.
For example, you may choose the following new tactics among others:
- Cross-marketing with a local jewelry store;
- Advertising in the local newspaper travel section;
- Writing travel articles for a business magazine;
- Developing a public speaking calendar;
- Engaging a niche market.
In each of these distribution channels, there is work to be done. You have to choose appropriate venues for each, make the appropriate contacts, set up calendars, develop content and prepare each for the individual efforts to come. Each strategy and tactical chain should have a budget attached to it, and the individual tactics used to implement the strategy must live within that budget. If the money you have to invest in your marketing plan is tight, you will naturally gravitate to tactics that are more dependent on your personal effort and involvement than on cash outlays.
Next week, we will look at individual tactics and discuss each in turn. For now, it is enough for you to begin to think about the strategies you want to use to achieve your objectives.
Now, download the TRO Strategies and Tactics Worksheet. Begin jotting down some strategies and tactics for your travel practice that will assist you in putting into action the goals and objectives that you have set for your company. We will refine your choices later, but think in terms of your likely budget for 2012. Look over the past year and decide what worked well for you and what did not. What new ideas seem to be possible avenues for your 2012 marketing efforts? What new channels of distribution do you want to explore?
Later we will also discuss appropriate budgeting considerations. I always advocate using techniques that require more personal involvement than capital outlay however.
Next week we will discuss the concept of a Marketing Calendar, then we will begin to review various tactics you might select for your Marketing Plan.