The marketing plan is an integral part of the annual business plan. An assessment of the impact of marketing programs currently in use as well as key performance indicators on customer retention and acquisition will provide good information on where marketing focus should be placed in the upcoming year. Measureable and achievable goals should be set and the means by which they’ll be reached should be identified. And finally the marketing budget can be created. Following are steps to creating an annual marketing plan for automotive repair:
- Set Goals for the Upcoming Year – Goals should always be specific and measureable. For example – stating that a goal is to keep more existing customers is not specific and measureable. Stating that a goal is to increase the customer retention rate by 5 percent is specific and measureable.
- Select Marketing Methods Focused on Customer Retention – There are a number of ways to retain customers such as emailing service due reminders, lube stickers and customer follow up by phone. Each will have a degree of effectiveness and an associated cost. Historical information will give a measurement of return on investment for marketing programs that are currently in use. Customer retention can be improved by modifying existing programs or adding new ones. Care should be taken when adding new marketing programs that they don’t compete with those already in use.
- Identify Marketing Venues Focused on Customer Acquisition – Attracting new business can be approached in a number of ways. In today’s world people use on line resources to find service providers more than ever before. They search online reviews on sites like Yahoo, they use social media such as Facebook and they search on sites built for this specific purpose such as Angie’s List. The key to making the most of advertising dollars is to invest in venues where your target market is most likely to shop.
- Build a Marketing Budget – Once marketing programs for customer retention and acquisition have been identified cost projections can be created. These costs should be stated in annual and monthly terms so they can be incorporated into the annual business plan and budget.