Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been advised to make sure any marketing efforts are well-planned.

According to Lonn Landis, a studio manager at the PR and creative agency Peppermint Soda, a good marketing calendar is a “vital tool” for any marketing department.

This, he said, is because it allows people with different responsibilities, such as social media, content creation and PR, to work in a coordinated way.

Mr Landis also pointed out that by listing planned actions and highlighting important dates in the calendar, an SME will be “well ahead of the game” when it comes to marketing.

“There are many things small businesses can do to ensure that they utilise everything available to them in regards to marketing,” he commented.

“Planning, creating and understanding your audience is key to creating a great campaign, no matter how big or small your company is.”

Mr Landis also suggested that SMEs make a point of monitoring their competitors’ main marketing activities.

He noted that keeping tabs on what their rivals are up to can help smaller businesses understand their behaviours.

This, he said, can in turn help SMEs predict what competitors are likely to do next, as well as gain greater insight into what works for a particular audience and what approaches fall flat.

“There are some really great tools out there to help with this, beyond the Google search bar,” Mr Landis advised.

“SpyFu, Google Trends and Google Alerts are all great tools to use when staying on top of the competition.”

Mr Landis acknowledged that small business owners can often feel that budget restrictions and timing factors restrain their marketing capabilities.

However, he insisted this does not need to be the case, as there are many steps SMEs can take to devise an effective campaign.

Identifying the target audience was flagged up as the main priority, as Mr Landis said getting to know who is purchasing a product and service and understanding their tastes, preferences, habits and circumstances is crucial if they are to engage with them effectively.

“Once you have made the effort to answer these questions and understand your customer’s buying journey, you will find approaching your target audience much easier,” Mr Landis said.

Furthermore, he stated that having a detailed understanding of a target audience will ensure SMEs no longer waste money on using advertising and marketing platforms that yield poor results.

Mr Landis added that customers can easily get bored if a company limits itself to one marketing method.

SMEs were therefore advised to consider engaging in integrated marketing campaigns that make use of traditional methods and digital platforms such as social media.

Think You’re Too Small For A Marketing Campaign? Think Again!, IS4Profit