I get it – you’d prefer to be doing anything other than developing a marketing plan. Of course, you can wing it but what usually happens is your marketing looks like a mix of tactics and tools from a variety of in-house and external sources. On a good day, you won’t truly know what’s working (but you’re delighted it is!). On a bad day, you’ll feel like throwing in the towel and never doing marketing again.
I really believe developing a marketing plan is your best chance at business success, and here’s why.
It helps you put the customer at the centre of your business
Without a marketing plan, I find a lot of business owners simple copy their competitors (which can work) but do your competitors have the same target market as you?
One of the key components of your marketing plan is taking the time to get inside the head/(s) of your target audience. Your marketing will deliver results for you if;
- you are talking to your customers in the right way with the right content/message,
- you’re using the right blend of the marketing mix (reaching out to your customers using methods that work for them),
- you’re using your marketing budget for maximum impact and,
- you’re differentiating your business from competitors with a clear unique selling point.
It provides a guide
The best thing a marketing plan does for your small business is it provides you with a guide to follow. It keeps you and everyone on your team on the same page when it comes to the direction your business is heading and how it’s going to get there. You have limited time and resources – let a marketing plan guide you to get the best return from them. With a marketing plan, you’ll ensure your marketing is proactive and organised.
It keeps you focused
With hundreds of different tactics to choose from and getting advice every second day to try this and test that, it is very easy to get distracted and lose sight of your goals. You can’t do everything and remember not everything is worth doing. With a marketing plan, you’ll have a guide to remind you what the best opportunities are for your business. It helps you keep on track using technologies and practices that will support your business growth.
It helps you budget
There are ways to market your business for free (and some are brilliant), but those methods will only do so much for your business. Eventually you’re going to have to spend money, whether it’s for a website, Instagram or Facebook ads, or business cards. Your marketing plan will detail your budget and how to maximise it. Don’t risk your budget on guess work.
It helps you establish timelines
I find that marketing often takes a backseat to other areas of business, especially when things get busy. Does that happen in your business? When you make a marketing plan, you’ll set a timeline for certain results. This’ll keep you motivated and under pressure to complete the necessary tasks for business growth. Nothing like a target and a deadline!
It helps you measure success
Having a plan identifies what “success” looks like for your business (every business is different which is why copying competitors or doing what your friend recommends you do doesn’t always work) and lets you determine whether or not you found success at the end of your marketing campaigns.
So to return to the basic question I asked at the start of this blog … Yes. Without a marketing plan, your business’s growth will slow, and could even stall. Take the time to do a marketing plan – you’ll reap the benefits. You can of course outsource your marketing plan or you can write your own. It’s all down to your available time and resources.