We’ve all heard the saying that fail to plan and you plan to fail, and this can ring true in the marketing and communications world too. Marketing is the promotion of a business, product or service. It’s how you grow your business and ultimately keep the money flowing in.
Many business owners are quick to dismiss some of their previously attempted marketing and communications activities as being ineffective – but if you just put a random ad in a random publication one week and the next month are putting something completely different across the radio the week after without anything to ‘gel’ them together, it is a little unrealistic to expect a unified result.
Below you will find an outline of why a marketing plan is so important. Check out www.marketsmartly.com for information on how you can engage a consultant to help you with your marketing strategy.
It Encourages Market Research
A robust marketing strategy will incorporate research – into your business, into your customers and into your competitors. This data is crucial to your decision making process when it comes to planning your marketing, advertising and communications activities and can help ensure that you are going to achieve what you set out to do in an effective manner.
It Makes You Set Goals and Measures
It can be hard to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing endeavours if you didn’t clearly outline what you were trying to achieve in the first place. The SMART analogy is a good place to start if you aren’t sure how to set goals. Ensure that every one is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Don’t just list something like “
It Gives You a Benchmark
Tracking and reporting on your marketing endeavours gives you something to work with for future planning. It ensures that you can look back and accurately assess what worked, what didn’t, what you spent. It’s also important to note you don’t write these plans in cement – it very much should be a working document that you refer back to often and tweak as required.
It Ensures a Consistent, Integrated Approach
When your marketing efforts are done haphazardly, you are at a real risk of sending mixed messages out to the market. Developing and working to a strategic marketing plan ensures that you have thought about what you want to say, who you want to say it to, and how you want to broadcast the message and results in a more cohesive and effective execution.
While most business owners and decision makers acknowledge the role that marketing plays in the business, an alarming number don’t actually have a marketing strategy in place. They do take a little bit of time to put together, but this is definitely a case of the ends justifying the means.
Do you have a plan that you work to, and refer to in your marketing and communications activities? Leave your ideas, thoughts, tips, and handy hints in the comments below.