It’s all too easy to try and run your business without any sort of marketing plan, you might be under the misconception that you can get up each day and do what you want to do and the business will be successful. While that sometimes happens, it’s not likely and one of the main reasons most businesses fail is due to the lack of planning and the lack of follow through on that plan. It doesn’t matter how small or large your business is, you really do need a plan even if it’s just one or two pages long giving you a direction to aim towards.
If you really want to make a splash and have a successful business, then you will need to go through the effort of creating a marketing plan. To underline the importance of this, I’ve just returned from a networking breakfast meeting where the topic was sales and marketing. It was easy to see which businesses plan and which don’t, as those with plans know exactly where they are going and were they are on their journey while those without, are lost and trusting to luck and referrals.
A Marketing Plan Can:
While doing the research for your plan, you’ll think of and answer a lot of questions that will help you in your everyday business dealings. You’ll get to know your target audience, understand the different marketing methods, and purposes and much more.
Assist with Decision Making
The facts you uncover with the research that you do will help you make better and more informed decisions about your business on a daily basis. Without the marketing plan you won’t be able to make such informed decisions easily.
Help You Create SMART Goals
The plan should help you define the long term and short term goals for your business and the marketing that you do for your business to achieve them.
Identify your Unique Selling Proposition
This is what sets you apart and makes you unique over your competition. Discovering your USP will impact all future marketing efforts and it could help you to stop competing on price.
Help Set Budgets
While creating your marketing plan you will also be able to determine and set a good budget to support your marketing efforts.
Define the Market
The research that you do will also help you define the market so that you can figure out where you fit in.
Access the Competition
As you create the marketing plan, it will give you the opportunity to get to know your competitors better. Once you understand them, you can identify gaps in your products or services and fill them or see gaps in the market were you can add value.
Help You Stay the Course
A plan if followed and measured will help to keep you motivated and on track to success, because you’ll always know exactly where you are on the road to success
Change with the Times
A plan should not be fixed and rigid, you should change it over time based on results and new ideas, but having a plan helps ensure your arrival at a planned destination.
One of the greatest benefits a plan gives you is confidence, it gives you confidence in your business and in the products and services you offer. This confidence will show in everything you do. In a marketing plan I like to answer every single possible objection to a sale as I can, because once I have this documented and in my snail brain the confidence I ooze ensures I am rarely asked such questions.
If you think you can do all that without a marketing plan and get anywhere in business within a reasonable amount of time while making a profit, you are almost certainly wrong. If you want a direction to take, want to know what you’re doing and where you’re going, and how to get there, then a plan is what you need.
A successful long-term business needs a marketing plan, even if it’s just one page long it’s a million times better than nothing. Writing out the steps you plan to take, and how you plan to take them when marketing your business will not always ensure success, but not doing so will almost always ensure failure or at the very least a harder journey and I don’t know about you but I’m lazy and if having a marketing plan means I get to take an easier route to success I’m all for it.