The Marketing Compass

~ Part 1 ~

~ An insight into marketing strategy ~

Nigel Temple BA (Hons) MCIM

email: tel: 01628 773128



Nigel is a marketing consultant, speaker and author. He holds an honours degree in marketing from Greenwich University. Originally trained to sell by Rank Xerox, Nigel has helped over 3,000 businesses to improve their marketing results. He has taught internet marketing since 2000 and is an active online marketing practitioner. His books include How to Get Clients to Come to You. Nigel is the Founder of The Marketing Compass – the marketing mastermind group for business owners and marketers. He regularly talks to business groups about marketing strategy.

“A great deal of sales and marketing work is important but not urgent.” ~ Nigel Temple

~ Published by The Marketing Compass Press ~
Copyright © Nigel Temple / The Marketing Compass Limited
All copyright and trademarks acknowledged

This book shows you how to think strategically about your marketing

It is aimed at busy people…

* Who are thinking of starting a business


* Who are already running a business, but feel that their marketing is somewhat haphazard

Join us here:

…and let us know how you are getting on.


The small print
Your use of the content provided within this book is subject to the terms of this Copyright Statement and Disclaimer. The Marketing Compass Copyright © Nigel Temple. All rights reserved. This book / e-book contains material protected under international and Federal copyright laws and treaties. Any unauthorised reprint or use of this material is entirely prohibited. No part of this book / e-book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author. The right of Nigel Temple to be identified as the author of the work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988. Although Nigel Temple and the publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information contained within this book was correct at the time of going to press, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. This book is designed to provide general information only and it has not been created to be specific to any individual’s or organisations’ situation or needs. Every effort has been made to make this book as accurate as possible however it serves only as a general guide and it contains information that might be dated and is intended only to educate. The author and publisher shall have no liability or responsibility to any person or entity regarding any loss or damage incurred, or alleged to have incurred, directly or indirectly, by the information contained in this book howsoever caused. No responsibility is accepted for omissions or errors. Disclaimer: to the fullest extent permitted at law, The Marketing Compass and Nigel Temple has provided this book and its contents on an ‘as is’ basis and makes no (and expressly disclaims all) representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, with respect to this book including the information, content, products or services included therein including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, the content is subject to change. In no event will Nigel Temple or The Marketing Compass be held liable for any direct, indirect, special incidental or consequential damages arising out of the use of this information.


The 8 stars of marketing

Vision: imagine your future business
Adding detail to the picture
Constraints only exist in the present

Your business model
Money or time?
Specialist or generalist?
Become a guru
Embedding the internet
The four marketing steps

Your marketing strategy

How to work out your USP
Naming your enterprise
Are you selling at the right price?
Repackage your pricing

Standing out from the crowd
Competitive analysis

Your brand
Your visual brand identity

Do you have clear objectives?

Your written marketing plan
Marketing plan template
Follow a process


A customer focused business
CRM strategy
Customer segmentation
Segmentation exercise
CRM software
Your contact list
The customer timeline
Dormant customers
Customer education

This will be sent to you separately.



Where italics have been used, e.g.
anchor text – please refer to the Glossary.


Marketing is a big subject, isn’t it? Finding the time to think strategically about your business can be a challenge, but it is worth it. Having a clear vision of your successful future and a concise marketing plan will help you, during the years ahead, to stay on track.

This book will help you to think about the bigger picture and to work on your business – not just inside it. As you will see, there is a logical order. The exercises are worth doing, particularly the Vision exercise. According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), marketing can be defined as:

The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating & satisfying customer requirements profitably

Marketing focuses on attracting and keeping customers. Always try and see your enterprise from the customer’s perspective. In a fast changing world, marketing is central to business success.

This is also a workbook. You will find it helpful to write down your answers to the questions you will be asked, as you work your way through the book. From time to time, you will see the following:

Present: Write down where you are now

Goal: Make a note of specific goals

Deadline: Include milestones and deadlines

Action: Add action points to your marketing plan

The eight core sections of The Marketing Compass system are:

YOU As self-understanding leads to a stronger business

STRATEGY In the midst of confusion, have a clear strategy

PLANNING Plan your work and work your plan

CUSTOMER The centre of your marketing activities

COMMUNICATION Interpersonal and written communication

PROMOTION Choosing and using promotional techniques

INTERNET The art and science of digital communication

SELLING How to convert enquiries into sales

Which give us the 8 stars of marketing:

We will discuss the elements of the 8 stars which relate to marketing strategy within this book. Please refer to my other books and websites for the other elements.



“It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.”
~ Henry James

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” ~ Napoleon Hill

When you experience moments of self-doubt, your internal drive will propel you forward. No matter whether you are in the pre-planning, startup, early years, high growth or plateau stage of business – the key question to ask yourself is:

“How motivated and excited do I feel about this business?”

Don’t just read this, nod and move on. Ask yourself the question. Then take a moment to assess your true feelings.

Knowledge, professionalism and long hours are not the answer. Your feelings are the answer, as they will drive your behaviour through the months and years ahead.

Vision: imagine your future business
When you dream, you are using your right brain. The right side of your brain processes images. A clear vision of your future business can motivate you to achieve your dreams. Visualise your future success, on a regular basis. Sports stars use this technique to imagine winning, well before they play the game itself. Top sales performers do the same. In the privacy of their mind’s eye, they see their future sales results, happy customers and financial success. They think about the things and experiences they will enjoy, when they have won the business.

“You become what you think about all day long.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spend a few minutes each day relaxing and thinking about your successful future business. This simple and enjoyable process will have a direct impact on your sales and marketing activities. You will feel more positive and energised. Your actions will change and your results will improve.

Keys to success:
1) Clarify your vision for your business & write it down in the present tense.
2) Re-visualise, every day. Daydream in detail about your successful future business.
3) Have a written marketing plan, with action points. Do three marketing actions every day, as:

“Little and often beats big and infrequent.” ~ Nigel Temple

Adding detail to the picture
Here are some questions for you. When you feel comfortable with each answer, write it down. Note that you should use the present tense, throughout.

There are no right or wrong answers. This is your personal vision for your business.

In three years’ time:

– Financial –

How much are you turning over, in three years? I am turning over….

Now think again – could this number be larger? How about 10% larger? Could that be possible?

What about 30% or even 100% larger? I am turning over….

NB It is important to write down your answers in the present tense,
i.e. “I am turning over £100,000.”

What will your profitability be?….
(This can range from a few percent for products, up to 90%+ for services)

– Customers –
What type of customers are you serving, in three years’ time? Describe an ideal customer:


Choose one of your customers (or image one, if you haven’t launched your business yet). What is their name? Become that customer and see your business from their perspective. For example, imagine them visiting your website and reading about your products / services. Write down their first impressions and what your website conveys to them.

– Competencies –
Think about your skills:
* Strategic thinking * Planning * Writing clearly and correctly * Working with numbers * Graphic design * Website development * Internet marketing * Public speaking * Networking * Managing
* Leading * Using the telephone * Selling * Negotiation * Other skills?

Which areas do you love to get in involved with? Which areas would you rather avoid? There may be some tough decisions to make, in terms of self-development and delegation. Which of these skills would you like to improve over the next three years? Write your answers down.

– Support team –
Will other people be helping you with your marketing? What will they be doing? Internet marketing? Writing? Administration? Arranging sales meetings? Something else? Write your answers down.

– Time –

How much time will you spend on marketing activities?

– Products and services –
What will you be marketing in three years’ time?

– Pricing –
Will your prices be:

A) Lower?

B) The same?

C) Higher?

– Place –
Will you be operating in the same geographical location as you are now? Or will you have expanded your geographical footprint?

– Promotion –

Will your promotional methods have changed? Will be you spending less / the same / more on promotion?

As well as seeing your vision of the future, it is important to add feeling to the experience. Spend time on a regular basis visualizing and experiencing your successful future, in your mind’s eye.

* The view from your office window
* What your desk looks like and the items on it
* Your possessions
* Your business relationships
* Your personal relationships

Reading these words won’t change anything in your life. Knowing how successful people act is one thing. Doing what they do is another thing entirely. Take action and follow the process.

Constraints only exist in the present
Just like everyone else, you have finite resources. At any one time, you have limited cash, lines of credit, support from other people and customers.

At some point in the future, every constraint will change. You can increase your turnover and profitability, create large cash reserves, hire people to help you, increase your network of contacts and launch new products / services. The question is, how long will it take to turn everything around? Three months? Six months? One year? Three years? Five years? Ten years?

Remember that the vast majority of millionaires started out with nothing. They had numerous constraints, when they began their journey.

In the future, anything is possible, isn’t it?





Your business model
There are many ways to build a successful business. If you are a ‘pre start-up’, you will be spending time thinking about this issue. Once a business has launched and has been trading for a while, it can become difficult to see the wood for the trees.

Here are some of key issues to consider:

* Is the business be ‘just you’, or are you planning to get other people involved? If you are,
will they be full time staff, part time staff or associates?

* Are you selling to consumers, businesses or the government (or a combination?)

* Do you sell services, products or a combination?

* Is there an office, or offices, or do you / your colleagues work from home?

* To what extent, if any, do you trade via the internet?

* Self-funding or investment?

* Are you the sole decision maker on all things, or do you ask for advice? Which areas of expertise could you use some help with? Will the external advice be one-off or ongoing?

Depending on the answers to these questions, the following business models could emerge:

i) Sole trader / independent professional; works from home; used savings to start their business; survives month to month on cash flow. Does everything themselves (marketing, sales, service delivery, accounting etc). Gets most of their business via networking (direct leads + referrals).

ii) Virtual team, all work from home, meet in hotel lounges or at client’s premises, servicing a handful of corporate clients. They network, do a lot of internet marketing and some PR.

iii) e-tailer, with offices within a warehouse, selling a niche consumer product on a national basis. Internet promotion includes websites, SEO, Google AdWords, banner advertising via a digital marketing communications agency, email marketing (big list), and some print advertising.

iv) Product based company, using the web to build relationships with corporates and government departments, prior to attending face-to-face sales meetings.

v) Manufacturer – sells through a chain of distributors.

vi) Software developer; small team working from a single office; business owner does all the selling; most of the leads come from an outsourced telesales firm.

I am sure that you can think of other models.

The marketing profile is different for each of the above cases. For example, the e-tailer is primarily spending money on advertising in order to generate awareness and response, whilst the sole trader spends a lot of time networking.

Money or time?
With regards to the resources which drive your marketing communication programme, will the primary focus be money or time? Over the years, when I have asked my seminar audiences this question, a forest of hands goes up when I say ‘time’. I then ask if they mean their time? Between 90% and 100% of the audience says “my time.” In other words, the business owner will be doing all of the strategic thinking, planning, writing, promotional work and selling. If this sounds like you, this book will make you more efficient in the way that you spend your time.

I am not say that a marketing budget is a bad thing. Many high growth businesses borrow money when they start out. This is the idea behind the concept of Limited companies. ‘Limited’ means limited liability, in case it all goes wrong.

If you have an appetite for risk, you can invest your own capital in your enterprise, borrow money from your bank (via a business overdraft or loan, which will almost certainly require collateral / guarantees); or sell shares.

Specialist or generalist?
Is it better to specialise or should you be ‘all things to all people’? Many businesses choose the latter approach – after all – they don’t want to turn anyone away, do they?

Become a guru
Are you seen as an expert in your field? Customers like dealing with experts. Being seen as a source of knowledge helps to differentiate your enterprise. If you are in a crowded marketplace, this has got to be a good thing.

Embedding the internet
To what extent is the internet embedded within your business model? Within The Marketing Compass, our members include a number of e-commerce businesses, so their answer would be: “100%”. For the rest of us, the answers will range from “hardly at all”, to “significantly.”

Do you see your website as an online brochure, or as a way to generate brand awareness, create customer engagement and build deeper relationships? Clearly, ‘making more sales’ is important. However, you are more likely to achieve greater sales if you create more business relationships.

How about the social networks? Do you have strategic SMO (anything in italics can be found in the Glossary) objectives? Do you integrate your SMO activities with the rest of your promotional mix?

With regards to SEO, do you have an alphabetical list of keywords for easy reference? Do you update this list frequently? Do you use these words and phrases both within your website and outside of it (i.e. within social media status updates)?

Take the use of Twitter as an example. Twitter can drive traffic to your website, help you to build your opt-in newsletter list and generate sales enquiries. However, this won’t happen if the underlying thinking isn’t in place, in terms of your business model and SMO strategy. If you are using Twitter for business purposes, Tweet about customer issues, needs and solutions (not about the soap opera you are watching on TV). In marketing, everything must be congruent. In this case, someone who is Tweeting regularly with useful, helpful, relevant and informed information about their professional knowledge will attract a significant following of interested people (i.e. potential customers).

You are welcome to Follow me on Twitter here:

The four marketing steps…

1.  Strategy and plan (think before you jump)

2.  Website (the hub of your marketing campaign)

3.  Promotional mix (generating awareness, building the brand, attracting customers)

4. Selling

Business model:






Marketing strategy

Your marketing strategy
Are you happy with your marketing strategy? Is it really working for you? There are a number of key elements which you should consider:

* Write a brief vision statement for your business which encapsulates what your business does, what it delivers, why it stands out from the crowd and where it is heading.

* Are you working in a declining, flat or expanding market? From time to time, it is important to step back and ask the big questions.

* What sort of lifestyle are you trying to create? How many days a week / hours per day do you want to work?

* Do you have an end game in mind? In particular, are you building a business / brand which could be sold at some stage in the future?

* Describe a perfect customer. (Can you do this instantly or do you have to think about it?)

* What are your marketing objectives? To build a brand? To attract X number of customers? To achieve Y turnover?

* Are you clear about the need which your product(s) / service(s) fulfill? Ask some of your customers why they buy from you and think carefully about what they say.

* Which, if any, of your marketing activities could you outsource?

* How well do you understand your competitors? Can you list your top 10 competitors and provide detailed feedback on their strengths and weaknesses? Have you searched for them online recently? Have you studied their websites? Do you know what their products / services are and what their pricing structures look like? Do you follow them on Twitter, so that you can see what they are up to? Do you subscribe to their newsletters?

* How well do you really know your customers? Do you have 1-2-1 meetings and / or phone conversations with them? Do you send out surveys (i.e. by using
Do you get independent feedback on what they really think about you?

* How do you measure your results? Enquiries? Sales? Profitability?


Your position in relation to your competitors
Understanding the market space in which you operate is essential. It will help you to differentiate yourself from your competitors, create key messages and produce unique value propositions.

Studying your competitors closely will help you to understand how best to position your enterprise. Here are some tips on positioning in a crowded market:

1. Swim up-market
Improve the quality of whatever you sell and increase your price. Up-market is usually where you’ll have the most fun and make the most money.

2. Choose a benchmark competitor
This should be someone who is already where you want to be. You could emulate their marketing strategy and tactics. However, too much emulation will create ‘me-too’ marketing.

3. Analyse your customer
Take the time to find out what your customer’s needs really are.

Here are some ‘positioning words’:

To a large extent, your positioning will depend on your values (see the section on branding).

How to work out your USP
The term USP (Unique Selling Proposition) was coined by Rosser Reeves, the copywriter who eventually ran the Ted Bates advertising agency in New York. Once you know your true USP, there are numerous things which you can do to make your business stand out from the crowd.

Gather together a group of people to help you. If your business is just you, or if there are only a handful of people in your enterprise, you could organise a session for two (or more) enterprises during which you go through the following exercise for each enterprise in turn.

You will need large sheets of paper. Start by writing down the answer to the following question:

Why do our customers buy from us?

If your team is familiar with Mind Mapping, this would be a great way of capturing their answers.

As the session progresses, your job as facilitator is to use the Socratic method of probing deeper and deeper to find out the real reasons why people buy from you. Socrates would never accept the first answer which people gave to him. He kept on saying, “Yes – but why is this the case?” If you do this in a consistent, non-confrontational way, you will be amazed at what your team comes up with. (Mind you, Socrates met a sticky end, perhaps because of all those questions!)

You need to deepen the enquiry to cover all of your products and services in all of the vertical, geographic and other markets which you sell to.

Within the second half of the session, ask: ‘Why do people buy from other sources?’

Step three is to cancel out the ideas / answers which are the same for your company and the competition. At the end of the session, the answers which remain for your enterprise will reveal your true USP. If you don’t have one, this is the time to start thinking about creating one.

Once you have decided what your USP is, distil the answers into one single USP statement for your enterprise. Your mission is to then tell your prospects and customers about it, as often as you can.

Here is a Wikipedia article about the USP concept, which includes some great examples:

Naming a new enterprise
Naming a new business / brand can be tricky, can’t it? Ideally, make it short and snappy. Remember to see if the domain name is available. Here is a tip for you: register the domain name before you register a company (as unscrupulous people monitor company registrations and buy the relevant domains in order to sell them back to you. Some people are just awful, aren’t they?)

Here are some options:

1) Call it after yourself, i.e. Jane Jones Ltd.

2) Use a name which reflects what you do.

3) Create a name which hints at what you do.

4) Create a name which bears no relation at all to what you do. The advantage being that you may wish, in the future, to expand your business away from yourself / your current areas of activity. This is called ‘brand stretch’ (think of Richard Branson’s Virgin brand and all of the many things that it sells).


Are you selling at the right price?
“Your prices are too low!” I often shout this at my audiences and try to look threatening. They always give me a round of applause. I wonder to myself if they will rush back to their offices and start experimenting with higher prices.

“Oil prices have fallen lately. We include this news for the benefit of gas stations, which otherwise wouldn’t learn of it for six months.” ~ Bill Tammeus, Toronto, 1991

Price is one of the ‘Four Ps’ of marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion).

Are you operating on a:

1) ‘Cost-plus’ basis? (i.e. calculating your costs and adding a gross profit percentage on top).

2) ‘Market-based’ pricing basis? (i.e. what the competition is charging).

3) ‘Value based’ pricing method?

In general, option 3 will make you more money, but only if you can add value and differentiate yourself from your competition – which is exactly where marketing comes in. The starting point is to work out your costs. This enables you to calculate the profitability implications of different prices. However, don’t set your prices just based on costs. Instead, set them with regards to the value you deliver to your customer.

Yes, I know that you have probably heard this before. My question is: do you believe that this will work and have you tried it out yet?

Here are three ‘pricing points’ for you to consider:

i) Reassuringly expensive (try saying this out loud). Remember that a high price = quality in the mind of the buyer. High prices mean that you have room to negotiate. All other things being equal, head north with your pricing.

ii) Mid-priced. The challenge being the lack of differentiation from competitors (as you are pitching your price at the mid-point).

iii) Cheap as chips. This would be a volume business, i.e a supermarket. “Pile it high and sell it cheap.” This approach requires significant amounts of capital in order to buy / manufacture large amounts of stock, in order to drive unit prices down. Incidentally, this strategy is usually death for anyone offering
B2B services.


In general, avoid giving upfront discounts. If you decide to use discounting, make this part of your marketing strategy and not just a knee jerk reaction to slow trading conditions.

If you offer special prices, then offer them for a limited period only. For example: one day only or until the end of the week / month. Then you can withdraw the offer and do it again, at a later date.

That reminds me – have you ever noticed a store in a large city covered in posters which say ‘Closing down sale! Everything must go!’

Take another look six months later. It is quite likely to still be there.


Repackage your pricing
As opposed to large amounts of money upfront, would you attract more customers with a low monthly fee, spread over (say) a year? Or could you offer three or four monthly payments? The good news here is that you can promote the low (monthly) payment figure, which should attract more interest.

The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” ~ Oscar Wilde, Lady Windemere’s Fan



Standing out from the crowd
From time to time, I meet business owners who don’t have any competition. For example, they have invented something new (i.e. a software application). In general, most people I talk to face considerable competition. They want to find out how to stand out from the crowd. The business guru and author, Michael Porter, said that there are only two fundamental business strategies: Low Cost and Differentiation.

If you have a genuine USP that’s fantastic news. If you don’t have one, start thinking about how you could create one. (The USP concept is covered within Positioning / ‘How to work out your USP’ within the previous section of this book).

Competitive analysis
The first step is to undertake a competitive analysis. Choose a handful of your competitors and study their market positioning, points of differentiation, products, pricing, location and promotional techniques. Put the information into a spreadsheet, for ease of comparison.

Here are some key questions:


* Competitor names

* Address(es)

* Website address

* Financial information

* Directors / key executives profiles

* Mission statement

* Corporate objectives

* Corporate strategies

* SWOT analysis

* Positioning / USP statement

* Niche / vertical market strategy

* Product sets, features and functionality

* Product literature

* Pricing

* Geographical coverage

* Channel marketing strategy


* Advertisements

* Press cuttings

* Direct mailshots

* Website (design, quality of the writing, visitor engagement, etc)

* Social media (number of Twitter followers etc)

By conducting a competitive analysis, you can make better decisions about your
market positioning; which product features to promote; pricing; where to offer your products; and promotional mix decisions.

What you should do when you are asked about the competition?
When I worked for Rank Xerox, they taught me not to knock the competition. Today, whenever anyone asks me about one of my competitors, I either say that I don’t know them (if I don’t) or I say that I have heard good things about them and then move on to talking about the customer and their needs.

Bear in mind that the customer is looking for reassurance that they are making a good decision, if they choose to buy from you.

If you sell products, or if you sell a service online, one option would be to create a chart, showing the different features which you offer, versus the competition. On the assumption that you have a better proposition, this may help.

So, a good answer is to say: “Yes, XYZ is good. Of course there are lots of ways of solving this challenge. Our customers tell us that we have the best mix of features, service and pricing. By all means take the free trial* and judge for yourself.”

* Or other free / low cost way of experiencing your service / product.

With regards to differentiation….






Your brand
Branding is a central part of your marketing strategy.

A brand = a promise

* If your business is ‘just you’, then you are the brand.

* The smallest business should ‘think brand’.

* Build a brand. All of your marketing activities affect your brand.

* Your brand is built on your values. Strong values create strong brands.

“The art of marketing is largely the art of brand building. When something is not a brand, it will probably be viewed as a commodity. Then price is what counts. When price is the only thing that counts, the only winner is the low cost producer.” ~ Dr Philip Kotler

According to this is the place to go to “check to see if your desired username or vanity url is still available at dozens of popular Social Networking and Social Bookmarking websites. Promote your brand consistently by registering a username that is still available on the majority of the most popular sites. Find the best username with namechk.”

Values are the basis of branding. As a business owner, your values form the foundation of your enterprise. It is important to know what your values are. Here is a list of some of them:





























Open mindedness


Positive thinking



Problem solving


















Here is an exercise for you: write down your values. Then ask your colleagues what their values are and also what they think your values might be. Hopefully, there will be a close match!

Your visual brand identity
A logo is part of your visual brand identity. An effective logo forms a picture. Pictures are processed by the right brain. Human beings can recall pictures / images very accurately. If you include an image within your logo and use colour, it will be more easily remembered. A logo should work well in print as well as on screen. It should look good very small and very large. A graphic designer can help to create a professional logo.

If you don’t currently have ‘company colours’, either get advice from a graphic designer or search for ‘colour wheel’ online. A colour wheel will show you which colours work well together. You are looking for a set of colours which work in harmony. Having made a choice, stick with these colours throughout your promotional mix.



Do you have clear objectives?
Do you know where your business is heading? If I rang you up and asked you, could you tell me, within a few words, without hesitating?

Business objectives often include a NUMBER and a TIMEFRAME.

For example:
“This marketing exercise will generate 20 sales enquiries a month.”
“My objective is to attract five new clients by the end of the next quarter.”
“25 people will attend our next seminar.”
“We are growing by 20% a year.”

By thinking in terms of numbers and timeframes, it is going to make it much easier for you to measure your results. Make measurement a key factor in your marketing thinking.

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower


Is money important to you? I realise that this may seem like an odd question to ask a business owner. However, I have often been surprised by the number of clients who have said to me, when I have asked them this question: “Not really.”

How much do you need to earn, in order to live comfortably? How much would you like to earn?
Do you have these numbers written down?





No one starts up their own business with the aim of being unhappy. Most people imagine that starting their own business will give them freedom (which it can do). They also dream of independence, creativity, gaining respect and being happy.

Sometimes, the reality can be 12 hour days, uncertainty, worry and exhaustion. Small business owners tend to be optimistic, hard working people (pessimism and lethargy don’t seem to work). Most small business owners accept that long hours are normal. They don’t seem to mind, particularly in the early years of the enterprise – as long as they are enjoying the journey.

Ideally, choose a business based around something that you love to do (not just ‘like’ or are OK with). In my case, I came to realise that I love to learn, write and teach marketing. Marketing is all about people and communication, both of which are endlessly fascinating subjects.

Build happiness into your plan


Your written marketing plan
Running your own business is a time consuming exercise, isn’t it? How much time is left over for marketing, I wonder? Should you be spending time networking, writing or hitting the phones? Or perhaps you should be experimenting with some of the other promotional activities available to you? With all of these marketing options, are you happy that you are following the right path, or do you sometimes feel that you are doing a great deal and not getting the expected results?

The answer is to produce a concise marketing plan. This will help you to become better organised, decide on your marketing objectives and set specific goals. By referring back to your plan, you will have more control and get better results from the time and money you spend on marketing. It will also help you to measure your marketing success.


Marketing plan template

Description of my / our business:

Sales targets

This year:

Next year:

Year after:

The number of customers required, in order to hit your sales targets:

This year:

Next year:

Year after:

Market overview

The target market in terms of geography, customer types, needs and trends, market growth.

Market research

How many potential new customers are there? Any market research that you have undertaken / are aware of.

Competitive analysis

Approximate number of competitors. Brief profiles of key competitors, including SWOT analysis; website address; key products / services; how they differentiate themselves.

Segmentation strategy

Smart businesses focus on niche market areas.

“A market segment = a group of people with shared needs.”

Segment 1 =

Segment 2 =

Segment 3 =

Segment 4 =

Positioning strategy

How do you want customers to perceive you in the marketplace? For example – lowest price? Best service? Highest quality? This is all part of the differentiation process (see below).


Your decisions on segmentation and positioning, combined with competitive analysis, will help you to decide on how you are going to make your business stand out from the crowd.

Key messages

These should be repeated throughout your promotional campaigns.

Key message 1:

Key message 2:

Key message 3:

Key message 4:

Customer Relationship Management

CRM = a customer-focused strategy, designed to optimise customer satisfaction, revenue and profitability. It includes all of the touch points where you interact with your customers.

CRM software

Which CRM solution do you use (or are planning to use)?

THE MARKETING MIX (Also known as the ‘Four Ps’)

Product(s) / Service(s)

List your products and services. Include key features. What, if anything, is unique about them? Are you going to launch any new products or services?

Which services can you ‘productise’?

Product (or Category) 1:

Product (or Category) 2:

Product (or Category) 3:

Product (or Category) 4:


Are you operating on a cost-plus basis (i.e. calculating your costs and adding a gross profit percentage on top) or a ‘market-based’ pricing basis? Alternatively, are you setting your own prices?


Where will you sell your products / services?


Which promotional tools will you use to create awareness and generate enquiries? For example:

* Website

* SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

* SEM (Search Engine Marketing, i.e. Google AdWords)

* e-Newsletter

* Blog
* Etc

NETWORKING. Face to face and online.

List the networking / groups / associations etc that you belong to.


For example:
* Exhibitions

* Speaking opportunities

* Media list

* Press contacts

* Press release ideas


* Business cards

* Postcards

* Leaflets
* Etc


* WOM (Word of Mouth Marketing) system


To what extent is your marketing mix integrated? Is there a consistent look and feel? Do you highlight cross selling opportunities?


How do customers find you? Results and feedback should be recorded on a monthly basis and compared with your marketing plan, to see what’s working.

(Navigator and NavigatorPlus members of The Marketing Compass have access to an online marketing plan template).

Follow a process

Are you following a process, in order to attract new customers from your target markets? Do you have a system to get the attention of prospective customers? Will your activities help to populate your marketing database? Are you building your brand? These questions can be answered by referring to your marketing plan. A good plan should be a concise plan. You should know what your objectives are and how you intend to achieve them.

The planning process will help you to choose the right market segments; it will enable you to clarify why your business ‘stands out from the crowd’; and it will help to ensure that your marketing is integrated.

Once you have written your plan, look at it regularly. Schedule a marketing meeting at least once a quarter with someone who can give you feedback on your progress.


A customer focused business
Is your business product focused or customer centric? The majority of small businesses adopt the former approach and they get along just fine. Market stall holders come to mind, as they shout at passersby about the interesting properties (and remarkably low prices) of their fruit and veg.

However, a handful of enterprises discover that a customer centric business has remarkable advantages. For a start, the customers love it and so does the bank manager.

A business is like a jigsaw puzzle. In order to succeed, you’ve got to be able to see the whole picture. Each part of your business is important. For example, products, finance and marketing.

Running a business can fill your entire life, if you are not careful. There is so much to do, isn’t there? Raising invoices, sorting out your website, planning ahead, answering phone calls and emails, attending meetings, resolving problems.

Within this melee, it’s all too easy to forget the one key area on which your entire business is built: your customers. Many businesses are product focused. They have a great idea for a product (or productised service). They spend considerable time, effort and money developing it. Marketing may come as an afterthought. The product is launched TA DA!

And nothing much happens.

Another business starts by talking to prospective customers and listening carefully to their needs. This business makes the customer the central point of everything they do. Every investment they make, person they recruit and action they take is preceded by the thought: “How will this serve our customers?” They have a true customer-based culture within their organisation.


CRM strategy
CRM stands for: Customer Relationship Management. According to Navigator member David Willis, a CRM is:

A customer-focused strategy, designed to optimise customer satisfaction, revenue and profitability

Here is a Wikipedia article on the subject:

According to Wikipedia, there are
three phases in which CRM supports the relationship between a business and its customers: Acquisition / Enhancement / Retention. The customer acquisition phase should be preceded by some deep thinking with regards to customer segmentation.

Customer segmentation
Should you ‘sell to everyone’ or focus on target market segments? New entrepreneurs often start out by selling to anyone who will talk to them, for example wedding guests, neighbours and people sitting near to them on trains and buses. However, this approach soon generates challenges. One of them being that you have to spend a lot of time on trains and buses.


A market segment = A group of people with shared needs

Think in terms of market segments. Once you have done this, you can create offers, headlines, advertisements, web pages, events and entire marketing campaigns which are aimed at distinct market segments. You will then get better results.

B2C (Business to Consumer)
If you sell to consumers (the ‘general public’), the factors to consider include:

* Age: Can you define age brackets for the people you are marketing to?
For example 18 – 25 or 50 plus. (Beware of this approach, as it can be too simplistic).

* Is life stage relevant? For example, empty nesters (the children have left home).
This can be more helpful than simply defining people by age. (Do you know anyone
who is 30+ and still living with their parents / parent?)

* Gender: Are you selling to just men or just women? If you are selling to both,
are your products / services more relevant to men or to women?

* Socio-economic group: Can you define your customers in this way?
For example, ABC1 (upmarket).

* Psychographics: This approach attempts to profile the way in which people think.
Factors include personal values, beliefs, opinions and attitudes.

* Geographical location: Are you selling locally, regionally, nationally,
in certain countries or globally?

* What specific need or needs do you have the solution for?

B2B (Business to Business)
If you are selling to businesses, relevant factors include:

* Business type: Which industry sectors are you targeting? For example, automotive, software, accountancy firms, construction? Tip: be as precise as possible with your definitions, i.e. not just ‘software companies’, but ‘small software houses in the South East of England offering bespoke application software solutions to professional services firms.’

* Business size: Independent professionals? Small businesses? Medium sized? Corporates?

* Decision maker type, i.e. small business owners, sales managers or Finance Directors (FDs).

* Geographical location: Are you thinking locally, regionally, nationally, certain countries, globally?

* What specific need do you have the solution for?

The above should form part of your marketing plan. Thinking in terms of customer segments will help you to decide where to focus your marketing messages and your communication style.

Naturally, just by being in business, people from different segments will want to do business with you. That’s fine. By all means take their money. However, one transaction doesn’t mean that you have to add a new target market segment to your marketing plan, does it?

Segmentation exercise
Think of a market segment that you are marketing to (or would like to market to). Now choose one of your products (or services) which is relevant to this segment. Complete the following exercise:
* Describe a typical member of this segment.
* What needs do they have, that your product / service can fulfil?
* Write a headline for an advert, with this specific segment in mind.
* Which promotional techniques could you use to reach them?

CRM software
Have your dormant, current and prospective customers in one place: your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. This will make you better organised and will enable you to deliver even better customer service.

Please note that Microsoft Outlook is not a CRM system: it is an email client. Similarly, spreadsheets aren’t the answer either. If you haven’t used a CRM system before, I suggest that you experiment with one or two of them.

Your CRM software should:

* Be easy to use
* Be accessible by all of the customer facing staff in your enterprise
* Allow segmentation of your list

* Make it easy to find people

* Interface with your email system (for day to day emails)
* Be regularly backed up

There are numerous CRM software systems available, including the following (which are listed alphabetically):

* Capsule CRM. Cloud based CRM solution. Integrates with MailChimp

* Goldmine. Several of my seminar delegates have told me that this is an excellent product. Goldmine includes marketing automation, sales automation and contact management software – so it does a lot. It includes integration with Outlook.

* ACT! ACT! is used to profile and record details of prospective customers. It integrates with Microsoft Office, Outlook and Sage 50 Accounts. It enables you to capture and integrate information from LinkedIn and Facebook. You can view recent emails, meeting notes, task reminders and social media.

* ( Having reached a billion dollars in sales, is widely used by sales forces worldwide. This is a feature rich system and it is relatively expensive. If you have a sales team, this could be the product for you.

* SugarCRM. This is open source software, i.e. it is free. However, you have to know what you are doing, if you are going to implement it yourself. If you are not technically minded, there are numerous companies who will build you a SugarCRM system.

Zoho CRM is a web based solution. It integrates with Google Apps (for business email) and interfaces with Microsoft Outlook®, Microsoft Office® and it is competitively priced.

For more information about CRM systems, ask a question via


Your contact list

The best list will always be your own list. It takes time and patience to build a database, however, the effort is well worth it. Incidentally, ensure that you have registered under the Data Protection Act (or equivalent, in your country) and are GDPR compliant.

At the core of your list will be your current customers. Communicate with them regularly. Communicate with the other people on your list at least a few times a year – otherwise – what’s the point in having them there? (If you are sending them emails, remember to include an unsubscribe message, within each email).

The customer timeline
Marketing can be thought of as journey. To begin with, members of your target market haven’t heard of you. Your job is to create awareness amongst this group of people.

You receive sales enquiries. For a variety of reasons, some people don’t buy. Those that do make a purchase become customers (transaction based). Some of your customers buy regularly from you. A business relationship develops and these people become clients.

Some of your customers and clients (and a few of their friends / contacts) become advocates. Cherish your advocates, as they are selling for you, without thought of reward.

Some of your customers and clients ‘fall asleep’ (metaphorically speaking) and stop buying from you. Your job is to wake them up (see below).

Use a referral system to generate referrals from people who have bought from you. Use the promotional mix to attract new customers to your business.

1. Awareness.

2. Enquiries.

3. Customers.

4. Clients.

5. Advocates.


Dormant customers
These are people / companies that you have sold to in the past, but you are not selling to currently.

New business tip: If you need more business, wake up some of your dormant customers. This will be a lot easier, if they are already within your CRM system. A well organised CRM will allow you to identify dormant customers with one or two clicks. An effective way of getting their attention is to send them a time limited special offer. Try and avoid discounting, if you can. Instead, offer something of value, if they say “yes”, within the deadline. For example, training, extended maintenance, an e-book, a seminar place, or some consultancy.

Customer education
Throughout your marketing communications programme, educate your customers. Teach them how to reap the benefits of using your product / service. Bring useful ideas and resources to their attention. Focus on helping your customers to understand the benefits which you offer. This helpful attitude will attract people as well as search engines. (See the section on Professional knowledge).

Is there a formula for an effective testimonial? The answer is “Yes”:

i. The challenge defined
ii. How you / your company solved the challenge
iii. The specific benefits that the customer received

For example:

i. My client X wasn’t receiving enough sales leads
ii. We implemented a client attraction programme within their company
iii. The number of sales leads quadrupled and turnover doubled

Put the customer at the centre of your business. Deliver fanatical customer service. Use CRM software to build in-depth profiles of your customers (dormant, current and prospective). Create processes to keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis.

With regards to CRM:








This will be sent to you separately.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading The Marketing Compass Part 1 and that you have found the relevant parts helpful. By all means let me know how I could improve it. I wish you all the best with your marketing and your business.


Black, Jack  Mindstore (Thorsons)
Bird, Drayton Commonsense Direct Marketing (Kogan Page)
Bosworth, Michael
Solution Selling (Irwin Professional Publishing)
Brooks, David
The Social Animal (Short Books)
Buzan, Tony
The Mind Map Book (Pearson Education)
Buzan, Tony Use Your Head (BBC Books)
Byrne, Rhonda
The Secret (book and DVD) (Simon and Schuster)
Canfield, Jack
The Success Principles (2005, Harper Element)
Cialdini, Robert B. Influence – The psychology of persuasion (Collins Business Essentials)
Covey, Stephen
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Free Press)
Fisher, Mark
The Instant Millionaire (Pan Books)
Gerber, Michael
The E-Myth Revisited (Barnes & Noble) and the other books in this series
Mitchell, Jack Hug Your Customers (Penguin Books) a story about an American clothing store
Moore, Geoffrey A.
Crossing the Chasm – marketing and selling technology products to mainstream customers (Harper Business)
Ogilvy, David  
Ogilvy on Advertising (Prion)
Power, Penny Know me, like me, follow me (Headline, available via Kindle)
Robbins, Anthony
Awaken the Giant Within – excellent self-development book (Fireside)
Temple, Nigel
Google Analytics in Pictures:
Temple, Nigel
How to Get Clients to Come to You (Words at Work)
Temple, Nigel
Telemarketing Results:
Tolle, Eckhart  
The Power of Now – spirituality for the 21st century (New World Library)
Weiss, Alan  
Million Dollar Consulting (McGraw Hill) – Alan knows what he is talking about



Added value: A marketing strategy to increase the attractiveness of your product / service.

Advertorial: Paid for advertising space which looks (at first glance), like editorial (i.e. written by a journalist). They should be marked with the word ‘Advertisement’, usually at the top of the piece.

AIDCA: (Sometimes known as AIDA). A marketing system commonly used in direct response copywriting: A = Attention (the headline). I = Interest (the product / service). D = Desire (an offer). C = Conviction (social proof, i.e. testimonials). A = Action (a call to action).

Ambient media: Advertising which is placed appears within everyday life. For example, advertising on ticket barriers and petrol pumps.

B2B: Business to Business, i.e. one business is marketing to another business. An example would be a management training company.

B2C: Business to Consumer. i.e. a high street retailer.

Bitly: A popular URL shortening service (so that you can share long URLs via the social media, for example). Another example is:

Body copy: The main body of text within a marketing piece. For example, an advert has a headline, body copy and call to action.

BOGOF: Buy One Get One Free. A promotional device to increase sales, whereby if an item is bought, another identical product is given for free. Can be used to increase first time purchases of a new brand / product, increase customer numbers and turnover.

Brand: A set of attributes which make it easy for customers to identify your product / service. Includes visual brand identity (i.e. logo, colours, typeface), as well as psychological factors including emotional brand attachments.

Business model: A theoretical construct of how your business operates. With regards to marketing, important aspects include the division between real world and digital promotion and whether you deliver any functionality digitally.

Case study: A story describing a problem which a consumer or business was facing and how you helped them to solve it.

Channel marketing: Using distributors to bring your products to the marketplace.

Closing: The art of bringing a sale in by closing the deal, sometimes using a closing technique such as the alternative close.

CRM: Customer Relationship Management system. There are numerous software solutions available. The idea is to have all of your contacts and customers in one place, as this will give you a strategic advantage. Check that you can export your contacts easily, should you decide to change CRM systems in the future.

CMS: Content Management System. This software allows you to make changes to your website.

Content marketing: Planning what you are going to be writing about, in a structured way. Usually based around a content marketing calendar.

Copywriting: Marketing words, i.e. within advertisements (hence ‘body copy’).

Customer: Someone who only buys from you once, which makes this transaction based. (See ‘client’).

Client: Someone who buys from you more than once.

Demographics: A somewhat old fashioned way of segmenting customers using gender, age, socio economic group and geographical location. (The challenge being that this only gives you a crude interpretation of a customer’s characteristics).

Description Tags: Part of your website’s meta data. 155 character’s worth of description of a web page’s content.

Differentiation: The key point or collection of points which makes your business stand out from the crowd. (Well worth thinking about).

ezine (or e-newsletter): An email magazine or email based newsletter.

e-shot: An email which is trying to sell something. (It’s usually OK to send an occasional e-shot to subscribers of your newsletter list).

Facebook: The world’s largest social media website, which makes it difficult to ignore. Particularly relevant to B2C marketers.

Gatekeeper. Someone who controls access to a decision maker (within B2B sales and marketing).

Google Analytics. An online service which gives a website owner a considerable amount of information about website traffic, where visitors are coming from, which pages they are looking at etc .

Hashtags: Within Twitter, you can use hashtags # in order to highlight keywords. For example, if you wrote: #Oxford …within Twitter, it would appear in blue and this word would become a clickable item – which allows Twitter users to click on that word and see recent Tweets which contain the same word. The use of hashtags enables Twitter users to find other Tweeters who are interested in specific issues / topics / products / people / locations etc.

HTML: HyperText Markup Language – the computer language used to build (most) web pages. Sections of code are ‘marked up’, using angle brackets (usually in pairs). So, if we wrote the following in HTML: <b>Nigel</b> …b = ‘bold’ …and… /b = end bold …therefore, it would appear on the web page as: Nigel

It is important to have a conceptual understanding of HTML, if you are going to be an effective internet marketer, as this knowledge will help you in countless situations. An excellent resource for gaining this knowledge is W3 Schools:

Infographics: Images which tell a story about a given subject. Usually upright rectangular images. Wherever possible, associate a URL with your infographics, so that people can click back to your website.

Keywords: Words or phrases which people search for (i.e. within Google). As part of your SEO strategy, it is a good idea to have a list of keywords and phrases which appear within your website’s content and meta data, in order to attract the search engines.

Market segment: A market segment = a group of people with shared needs.

Metrics: A series of numbers (or charts) which show the performance of a marketing initiative or campaign. For example an advertising, email marketing, or SEO campaign. Incidentally, the advent of digital marketing has given marketers a wealth of real time metrics.

Mind Mapping: A graphical thought organisation technique, useful during planning and presentations.

Objections: Reasons that a seller gives for not buying your product / service. (Usually, if there are no objections, there will be no sale, so don’t think of them as a problem).

Organic: A term used within digital marketing to distinguish between paid for and ‘natural’ search engine results (which appear within SERPs pages).

Pinterest: A social media website which allows you to share an tag images. Particularly useful if you use infographics as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Positive attitude: Something which it is useful to have, during the ups and downs of sales and marketing.

Positioning: How you decide to position yourself in your market, i.e. ‘cheap as chips’ versus ‘reassuringly expensive’).

Press release: a single story that you send to many different media, with the hope of publication.

PR: Press Relations, which is the art of trying to get journalists to write about your products / services.

Promotional mix: All of the ways in which you promote your business, i.e. website, business cards, advertisements, networking, SEO, social media.

Sales pipeline: Identification of where prospective customers are during the sales journey.

Segment: See ‘market segment’.

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation. The science (and art) of attracting the search engines to your website. See ‘keywords’.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page, i.e. when using a search engine – the organic results which show up in the centre of the page.

SMO: Social Media Optimisation is the strategic use of social media for business purposes, i.e. attracting visitors to your website. See:

SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. You can conduct a SWOT analysis on your enterprise, or on a competitor.

Squeeze page: A web page (or website which usually only comprises a single page) which has the sole objective of tempting visitors to ‘join your list’, i.e. your newsletter list.

Testimonials: A short statement endorsing your business, brand, service or product – written by a genuine customer (not you).

Testing: Typically an A / B split test between two marketing propositions, headlines, adverts, web pages etc in order to try to ascertain which is the most effective.

Title Tag: Part of your website’s meta data. Title Tags appear with SERP pages and look like headlines.

Twitter: A social media website. Tell the world about your business in 140 characters or less.

UA code: A short string of characters which are included within a web page so that it can be tracked by Google Analytics. If you use a CMS such as WordPress, your UA code only has to be entered within WordPress once and then it is automatically added to pages.

URL: Uniform Resource Locator or, more simply, a website page address. For example: It is important to think in terms of page addresses, as the search engines list URLs within their giant indexes of the web. Keywords and phrases are then associated with specific URLs.

USP: Unique Selling Proposition – something you have which the competition doesn’t.

Value: The perceived value that you deliver to your customer, which includes price but also includes such factors as service and peace of mind.

Vertical market: A vertically integrated market, i.e. the automotive industry which starts with steel and ends with a car on the dealership forecourt.

Visitor: A ‘unique visitor’ (UV) to your website is identified by their IP (Internet Protocol) address. In a period of one month, let’s say that person Y visits in the first week and person Z visits in the second week. The website in question has two unique visitors. However, if person Y visits again in the third week, the site still only has two UVs. A high number of UVs is a good indication of a website’s popularity.

YouTube: The world’s second favourite search engine, after Google. If you want to see how to do something (i.e. remover a radiator from a wall), there is probably a YouTube video which will show you how. Increasingly popular with the non-teen (older) market.

The Marketing Compass

~ Marketing direction, advice and guidance ~

The social networking site for small business owners:

Tel: 01628 773128


Nigel Temple – marketing consultant, speaker and author

Nigel’s services include:
* Marketing consultancy
* Digital marketing strategy
* Webcopywriting training
* LinkedIn training and coaching
* MailChimp training
* SEO training / reviews
* Website reviews and feedback


Find out more here: