Here's why you need a marketing plan
creating a marketing plan can actually save you time, money, confusion & stress.o matter how big or small your company is, if you’re doing any sort of marketing (& you really should be!), you need a marketing plan. When you’re busy building your company or rolling out marketing campaigns, setting aside a few hours for planning can feel like a waste of time. I get it - there’s so much else that you could be doing instead. However,
WHY YOU NEED A MARKETING PLAN
1. Marketing plans give you direction
When you have a destination in mind, it’s much easier to work out how you can get from A to Z. The same is true of goals & marketing planning. If you know what you're trying to achieve, it's much easier to work out how you're going to make it happen. Without goals & direction, you risk trying a bit of this & a bit of that & generally being inconsistent. Worse yet, your marketing can become completely irrelevant. You risk:
a.) Confusing or scaring existing & potential customers;
b.) Reducing trust in your brand;
c.) Driving people into your competitors' arms;
d.) Discovering you've wasted precious time & money.
Marketing goal setting & planning force you to research & troubleshoot before you start implementing. It keeps you on track, encouraging you to remember the big picture (i.e. your goals). Altogether, this means that you can be more effective, efficient & in control of what's happening.
2. The planning process boosts your awareness
Planning streamlines your focus, but it also makes you more aware of everything around you. The research phase boosts your awareness of things such as:
a.) Who your competitors are, what they're doing & how you compare;
b.) The opportunities & threats that will impact your marketing activities & your business overall;
c.) Internal weaknesses & strengths;
d.) Your audience & its unique needs;
e.) How relevant your solution is (what problem it solves) & how your audience benefits from it.
While the above list isn't exhaustive, it does highlight just how important the research phase is. If you're busy marketing your business, but you don't know how you compare to others within your industry or you aren't on the lookout for new opportunities / threats, you risk being overtaken by innovators & existing competitors, both locally & globally. Awareness is key to remaining relevant & competitive in an ever-changing global market.
3. A marketing plan can provide a much needed reality check
No matter how motivated you are to succeed, there will come a time when you're busy, stressed, tired & desperate to reach your next milestone quickly. It's in times like these that you run the risk of making poorly informed decisions. Tales of incredible marketing results tempt you to jump on the latest fad or an article leaves you feeling like you really should be active on another channel. Any knee-jerk decisions that follow can leave business owners or marketers overstretched. When this happens, marketing can become inconsistent & ineffective.
It's important to realise that every marketing decision that you make can impact your bottom line. The information within your plan can help you evaluate a new channel, tactic or opportunity. It can act as a reality check - making sure that you're avoiding the hype & thinking strategically.
4. Marketing plans make your business competitively flexible
One of the most popular arguments against marketing plans is that planning restricts your ability to be agile & remain competitive. When used properly, this couldn't be further from the truth. After all, how can heightened awareness, benchmarks & measurable goals be detrimental to your brand's health?
Plans are just that: a plan. While you don't want to be changing it too often, your plan is merely a guide that helps you stay on track & work out what's working & what isn't. If something isn't working - or a review alerts you to potential changes within the industry, your plan can be updated. Activities that have proved ineffective can be discussed & replaced. Tactics that are performing better than expected can have additional budget allocated to them. The beauty of having a plan is that it helps you understand more about your marketing performance. When it's reviewed regularly it also gives you the gift of awareness, allowing you to capitalise on everything from your competitors' weaknesses to new, relevant opportunities.
5. A good marketing plan can help you secure investment
Investors don't just give their hard earned money to anyone. They want to invest in businesses & founders who will work hard to grow the company & generate a return for them on their investment. Marketing plans help show investors that you're:
a.) Serious about growth;
b.) Aware of industry obstacles & opportunities (& smart enough to avoid / exploit them);
c.) Well researched, with accurate information about your audience & the actions of your competitors;
d.) Already working your way from A - Z, with Z being the point at which you achieve your goals;
e.) Measuring performance & continually improving what you're doing;
f.) Aligning your marketing activities with the rest of the organisation (i.e. your marketing goals aren't soft & fluffy - they will help you achieve specific business goals);
& much, much more.
NO MARKETING PLAN?
I've barely scratched the surface with these 5 reasons, but, as you can see, having a marketing plan comes with many benefits.
To find out how a marketing plan can help your business, book yourself a free 30 minute consultation call now. ♦
Fully tailored marketing planning service
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Beylkin is the founder of Words on Marketing. She began her marketing career in Australia in 2005, working for an early stage startup. Since this time, she's worked with brands big & small, from Microsoft & Montcalm Luxury Hotels to Quiz Clothing & cranberry panda. Now based in London, she spends her days helping individuals & brands achieve more with marketing.