Business plans and marketing plans are often only prepared when a business is seeking finance or investors, or perhaps you prepare one each year as a matter of course. In the vast majority of cases, once this finance is secured the marketing plan is forgotten and the business never follows through with the plan, this failure to commit and follow through is the number one reason most marketing plans fail. Businesses often spend weeks preparing a plan right down to the minutest detail but without following through with it, or taking action if you like, nothing will ever happen.
Let’s look at some other reasons why marketing plans fail.
Not Understanding Your Target Audience
If you want to run a successful business you need to know who your target audience is, I cannot stress this enough, if you want to run a successful business you need to know who your target audience is. I feel at times that I could literally write that a hundred times and still most people reading this would skim over it, so let’s put it another way do you want a mediocre business that you work hard at, that generates some income, some months better than others and that you have a lot of stress in, or do you want a business that just seems to attract customers and makes sales, that gives you the freedom to expand or not as you see fit. Well, if you want the first option which is basically a job, continue without knowing who exactly your target audience is.
If on the other hand, you want a successful business then this requires a lot of research and dedication to getting to know your audience inside and out, and that means not for just today, but also into the future. As time passes, some of the things you know about your audience will change too, by staying ahead of the game you’ll always be in a position to maximize existing opportunities and make new ones.
Lack of Product Knowledge
Do you know every product that you offer your audience and do you know why you offer them? What problems do they solve for your audience? What benefits do they give your audience? Don’t just know how to list the features of your products. The audience only cares about solving their problems and you should be able to explain your products from their perspective.
Not Setting Measurable Goals
Way too many businesses fail to set measurable goals, many for instance will run advertisements without really knowing why. If you don’t have specific goals such as increasing your mailing list, generating so many new leads in a month, it will be hard to know if what you’re doing is working or not and if it can be improved.
Not Setting Realistic Goals
As someone that has developed websites for twenty years I get this one a lot, I would like a website like YouTube, eBay, etc… and my business is five hundred dollars. Therefore, work with your budget or around your budget with some creative thinking to meet a specific goal. To give you an example of this, when I started out I set a goal to have the best web development software I could possibly have, my only problem was that I couldn’t afford it. With some creative thinking the solution came to me, set up a website that reviews software and ask all of the major software companies for copies of programs for review, which is how Cyber Aspect was born. Getting back on track, don’t create a goal based on budget; only create the marketing plan based on your budget.
Not Understanding Why
You’ve heard that it’s a good idea to want to add people to your email list, but why do you want to do that? What is the point of your goal? If you can’t understand the reason behind your goals, then it will be difficult for you to execute them.
Not Knowing How
Many people are afraid to admit that they do not know how to do something and need further specialist education. If you can find a way to identify gaps in your education, and find tutorials or coaching to teach you, you’ll be more likely to be successful. This is why business coaches are so useful, they will help you identify these gaps and point you in the right direction.
Not Knowing Who
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. If you don’t know who is going to help you reach your goals and implement your marketing plan, then you may not succeed. When you write out your plan, also write out who is going to do each part of the plan and when they are going to do it.
Not Following Through
As I said at the start many business owners actually do all of the planning but never implement anything. It could be due to fear of success or fear of failure but just like a diet, if you don’t follow through you will not see the results that you want.
Marketing plans don’t really fail if they are made and then implemented. The reason is that a marketing plan changes with the times, objectives and goals. As long as you are working the plan and adapting it to your needs, you will more often than not find success.