How to Set Your Marketing Table

Placemat with pinterest-page1When you were in middle school, depending on your age, you most likely had a class in home economics. Part of the lesson, at least in my class, was the proper way to set a table.  The knife and spoon on the right of the plate and the fork on the left.

For more complex meals, you had to learn the purpose of the big spoon vs. the small and the big fork vs. the small. And what about those utensils lying above the plate?

Setting a table can be complicated but if you have a guide, it all begins to make sense.

I recently found such a guide for your marketing plan based on the classic table setting. The size and frequency of the item correlates to the amount of time you’ll use each item. For example, the largest and most frequently used item is the plate. When thinking about marketing, think of the plate as your website.

Each item has a place and represents a different part of your marketing plan. The great thing is, just like when setting the table for a meal, you can decide how many items you will need based on the overall plan.

If you are planning a basic meal (i.e. basic marketing plan) you’ll need the following:

  • Plate: Website
  • Fork:  YouTube
  • Knife: LinkedIn
  • Cup:   Centers of Influence
  • Spoon: Twitter
  • Soup Spoon: Facebook
  • Napkin:  Blog

The Social Media Roadmap created this Internet Marketing place mat and offers this advice for the basics:

The plate: the central component to any well laid table, the plate represents your company website. It contains the “meat and potatoes” of your services, products, mission, vision and values to any prospects that search the web for your company.

The fork: the tool with which we consumer our food, represents YouTube. By 2015 65% of all Internet traffic will be video. Video is a great way to feed our prospects information, humor and examples of how to best use our products and services.

The napkin: keeps us tidy and as a blog in our media plan, provides tidy bits of information that share our expertise, provide insights into our values and our voice. Not used by many (a sleeve sometimes is used instead) the blog is a great way to flood the Internet with our company name associated with key words that will aid in search results and driving traffic to our website.

The knife: cuts our meat and also cuts through to find the decision makers on LinkedIn. Four out of 5 LinkedIn users are the decision makers for their company. This is a great tool for slicing and dicing information as well as building your business network.

The teaspoon: small in size, the teaspoon represents Twitter – just a spoonful of information for your readers. Use it frequently to share and learn from your community.

The soup spoon: we use the soup spoon for larger portions of information like we’ll find on Facebook. However, we don’t want to over indulge.

Cup and saucer: Just like the cup is circular – so are your centers of influence. Like the hub and spokes of a wheel – they reach out to an ever expanding network to help spread the word of your services to their network. Make sure they understand your primary purpose and your ideal customers so that they can properly refer you to customers most likely interested in your services.

If you are a visual learner, this marketing guide might help as you piece together your strategy for promoting and marketing your self-published book. Each piece of your marketing plan has a place and a role.

Actually, here is another analogy that might help. From the small business marketing book: Back To Basics, we learn the importance of each piece of the marketing plan:

 Lego®.  How many have played with or watched their kids play with Legos?  You may remember that every Lego kit, even the simplest, comes with colorful instructions that begin by putting two pieces together and building on a foundation piece.  From there each additional piece is added in the right way, at the right time to create the finished product pictured on the box.

Marketing works the same way.  You follow the instructions and build from a foundation to create an overall plan.  Putting all your marketing dollars in one basket is a strategy but perhaps not one that will consistently reach your target customer.

Unlike Lego’s, the pieces of your marketing plan will change over time.  What you found to be  successful ten years ago won’t be the same today because options change, the needs of customers change and your focus may have changed.  Look at McDonald’s.  Although they still offer fast food at an affordable price, they’ve added salads and apples and wraps to their menu options.  Their business has changed with the needs of their customer and so will yours.

However one fact remains the same – the marketing strategy will need to contain more than one component; more than one Lego piece put together to effectively reach your target prospect.

Bottom line: Having a clearly defined marketing strategy is of critical importance to effectively promote your self-published book. Whether you lay out your plan like a place setting or build your strategy like a Lego set, it requires more than one component to effective reach your readers.


So I ask you…have you put your marketing plan in writing yet?