Planning, whether it’s business or for a specific activity such as marketing, is critical. I know some people are not keen to plan or perhaps are a little impatient.
Let me share 7 reasons you really should plan when it comes to your marketing:
If you don’t have a plan, chances are you don’t have a budget. So, what often happens is that one particular activity snaps up your money, either exceeding what you would have budgeted or chewing up your entire marketing budget. This means you’re not able to do the other activities which you might have chosen or more importantly, might really need.
Some business owners believe in only a few forms of marketing. They might be saying “social media doesn’t work!” or “I don’t need a website” or “print media is dead” … all of which I strongly believe is false in 95% of businesses. There are always exceptions but on the most part, we need balance. Even online businesses need to use other forms of marketing, such as networking or print to get people onto their site. We need that balance and balance comes from (you guessed it) planning!
A marketing plan aligns your objectives.
In your business you will have objectives, and a good view of who your ideal client or customer is. You probably know also who you don’t want as a client or customer. Part of the planning process is determining your ideal market and what you want to achieve from your marketing. For example, if you are seeking high end quality clients, then advertising in a budget ‘rag’ where your ideal client is probably not looking at, will only attract the ‘budget’ clients. The same goes for online sites which give clients the opportunity to get 3 quotes … making business focussed on price, rather than on service.
A marketing plan forces you to do your due diligence.
You’ve just thought of a brilliant idea for marketing, or someone has just rung you to sell their marketing product. You’re in a hurry, busy, rushed so say “sure, do it”. A marketing plan requires time, research and investigation; so by its nature, you are going to not just take the first offer which lands on your lap. Instead, if an opportunity comes up, you won’t make a spur of the moment decision but instead perform your due diligence and check out that opportunity fully. You’ll consider if it meets your objectives, will attract the right clients to you and will fit within your plan and budget. If the answer comes back as no, then you are set to decline the offer with confidence.
Having a plan (which you visit time and time again) keeps you focussed. When you have a plan, and repeatedly look at that plan, you stay on track and do what needs to be done. When you don’t have a plan, quite often, marketing falls by the way side. It’s one of those tasks which doesn’t jump in your face – unlike customer service or sales. Until you suddenly realise work is drying up, you can often forget about it and neglect it.
Consistency of work.
By having a plan, which is balanced and performed on regular and ongoing basis, it alleviates the ups and downs some businesses face. I’ve known businesses which are either flood or drought when it comes to their workload and I know why. When they are busy, they don’t market which means of course the work starts to dry up. So now they are quiet, they get stuck back into marketing and get busy again. Now they are busy and yep, they stop marketing again. You know the cycle; lack of planning perpetuates this cycle.
It gets you money – three ways.
A marketing plan obviously generates business, but the other aspects of a marketing plan is that if you are looking for finance then most bankers require a business plan (which I can help you with) and part of this business plan is a marketing plan. The third aspect that a marketing plan can get you money is that if you are considering selling your business, then a marketing plan will be a critical factor in getting a good sale price (amongst many other things) so if you want money, get a marketing plan.