A Marketing Checklist

Whether you’ve been in business for a few days or for a few years (or many), you might feel like your promotional efforts are on shaky ground or you’re just getting lucky without knowing for sure why things are working. You are not alone! This is a common problem. Usually, the problem is that you didn’t create a strong marketing foundation. 

This checklist is designed to help you take inventory of your foundational elements that will really help your business launch to meet your objectives. It’s time to work ON your business, not just IN your business, as Michael Gerber urges in The E-Myth

1. Clearly Define the Marketing Mix for Your Business

These are your 4Ps, your PRODUCT, PRICE, PLACE, PROMOTION.


You might say you have this in your head, but if that’s the case, things can get muddy really quickly. You will start agreeing to do things way outside of your niche, at a price point that is much lower than you can afford and pretty soon you are far from your mission. In nonprofits, we call this “mission creep.”

If you didn’t outline these ever, or since your pivot inspired by COVID, it’s time!

Define your PRODUCT (what you offer your customers—a tangible product or a service), 

PRICE (your pricing strategy: bargain, mid-range, elite),

PLACE (where you offer your services, meaning zip code as well as brick and mortar or online, strip mall, office building, collaborative space, etc.), THEN, 

PROMOTION (what strategies and tactics you will use to make it all happen. Do not promote until you have the other three components all set. Start by jotting them down. If you have a long list for each answer, you might be trying to do too much at once. You’ll find a downloadable chart here.

2. Client Profile Fully Fleshed Out

Who do you want to help with your business? Who needs you? Then go further with demographic and psychographic info. You need to get into their frame of mind to know what they expect from you, then deliver that. Your market is not EVERYONE. Be specific! 

3. Key Branding Messages

What are the core messages you need to demonstrate in everything you do? Maybe it’s your tagline, but they are likely deeper than that and probably more than some core value statements that EVERY organization has.

4. Vision and Mission Statements

We tend to think of these as the property of nonprofits, but businesses of any size also need vision and mission statements. Your vision is how you want to make an impact in this world. It finishes the sentence, “Because of me | us | my company, _______________________________.” Fill in the second part of that statement with what exists because of what you do for a living. That is your vision. 

Your mission is how you meet that vision and you might mention for whom you do it, especially if that is how you are different from your competition. Again, your market is NOT everyone. Even if you have a very generalized mission, you might be confined to your geography. Click here for some additional help. 

5. Brand Strategy

Branding is not just the look of your logo and the colors you choose. If you haven’t already, you need to make decisions top-to-bottom and inside out about how your brand is demonstrated in everything you do. Your brand strategy will reflect your core values, the way you want to do business, and how you want to treat your customers. In other words, your personality! 

Think about your favorite store or service provider. I bet one of the things you love about them is the consistency of their branding. It likely shows through in the way they greet you, make you feel, and help you get the products or services you want. If people aren’t understanding your brand strategy completely, I have a brand strategy guide that will spark some ideas for you. Download it here

I hope this was helpful for you, especially as you start planning for the new year coming. If you gained some insight, please leave a message. Thanks for your time.

Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. She recently published Laws of Promotion. The 50-page promotional guide for small businesses and local nonprofits is available now on Amazon. Call her for help with your promotion. If you found this post helpful, please leave a note here and feel free to share it. 

Sign up for my e-newsletter

* indicates required

( mm / dd )

This will close in 0 seconds