How long does marketing take?

Apart from the 'how much does small business marketing cost?' question, the 'how long does it take?' question is one of the ones I get asked the most.

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How long does marketing take?

Time and money are two things you definitely have to factor in before embarking on any marketing programme, but here we throw some light on how much of it you need.

1) You need 3 months for planning

Unless you’re Coke or Shell I’m guessing you don’t have endless piles of time or money to throw at your marketing. But you do need some, and more importantly, you need to allow good time to get it set-up and rolling.

If you’re in a hurry, you’ll make mistakes you might regret.

The biggest mistake small business make when tackling their marketing is thinking about it too late. If you’re looking for a 12 month marketing strategy, and you need it to kick-off in January, then you need to start planning in the September of the previous year.

I get calls about January marketing plans in November and even December, which is often the time small business owner’s start thinking about the year ahead. But that just isn’t enough time to do a proper job.

2) Money buys time

Unless you can afford an endless stream of marketers, who just sit around waiting for your call or briefs, an independent marketer will probably need between 5 and 10 days to plan your marketing strategy. And it will take numerous calls, meetings, research and write-up to get that delivered, most likely over a number of months, because you are busy too right, and they will definitely needs some kind of time commitment off you too.

And, if you are thinking of engaging the services of a professional marketer, be prepared to pay any where from £300 to £2,000 a day, plus VAT, depending on their experience, qualifications and whether they are a freelancer or not.

But, as oil rig fire fighter Red Adair once said “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

3) You’l then need time every week to keep on top of it

Once you have your beautiful and creative 12-month marketing activity plan in place, and you’ve set-up the tools and techniques you need to roll-out that plan (not to mention getting the whole team on board), it’s a permanent job to keep it all moving. Permanent in as much as you need to set aside regular time each and every week to keep on top of it. Or pay someone else to do it.

No one (including me) says marketing is fast, cheap or easy, but experienced help, cash and clever systems can certainly speed things up. If you don’t have the cash or the systems yet, don’t despair – there’s things out there for you…

Talk to Cheryl about ensuring that what precious budget you do have is spent wisely and not wasted. Most of all, call with the expectation that marketing is unfortunately like the slow food movement – but delicious and fulfilling in the end.

You might also like to read about where you might be leaking profit. Take a look at the Watertight Marketing profit leaks here »

Cheryl Crichton

Helps small businesses stop wasting money on marketing. Watertight Marketing Certified Practitioner, MCIM Chartered Marketer and mentor.

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