As business owners ourselves we know that time is precious, there is always so much to do and so little time to do it. So why do you need a marketing plan anyway?
It is human nature to put off doing things that we are unfamiliar with or are not in the urgent bucket. Putting time aside to develop a marketing plan often falls into this bucket – you say “it would be nice to do but we don’t have time”, “we don’t need one, things are going OK”, “we don’t know where to start”, or “marketing – that is just a lot of fluff!”.
We urge you to think again – because if you don’t have a plan, how do you know where you are going?
Here are 5 reasons why we think it is important to put time aside to develop a marketing plan. Sure it will require research, time and commitment, but is a very valuable process that can greatly contribute to your business success.
5 reasons you need a marketing plan:
- A marketing plan helps you think about the big picture
In the daily routine of putting out fires, it’s hard to turn your attention to the big picture. Writing your marketing plan helps you think about where you have been and where you want to go. It helps you identify external opportunities and threats you need to be aware of, internal strengths you need to build on and weaknesses you need to overcome.
By capturing your thinking on paper rather than in your head you increase the chance of your great ideas coming to fruition.
- It helps you align marketing activity with your business strategy.
One of the greatest benefits of developing a marketing plan is that it helps you to focus your resources and plan for your business growth. it’s easy to become distracted and lose sight of your intended business goals. A well-written marketing plan helps keep you focused on clearly defined business objectives; what needs to be done, who will do them and when they need to be done by.
- The process helps you find out what makes your business unique
Building your brand is a crucial part of building your business. When you develop your marketing plan you’re taking time to THINK and:
- identify your target market and understand how your product or service meets their needs
- identify your competitors and what your target customers think about your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses
- position your brand, products and services so that your target market sees your business as better than, or different from, the competition
- A marketing plan helps you take control of your business
Marketing planning helps the day-to-day running of your business. When you develop your plan, you’ll set set specific, measurable goals and time-frames for your marketing activities, and allocate resources and budgets. Also the effort you put into your plan will reap benefits for the future as once it is complete you just need to make minor adjustments during the year, and it can serve as a template and benchmark for you to work from as you define your objectives and strategies for the following year.
- Helps you measure the value of your investments
A marketing plan provides a step-by-step guide to what you are spending money on and when. This makes it easier to keep control of your expenditures, manage your cash flow, track sales to marketing expense ratio, and measure the success of your marketing efforts. It becomes a living document for measuring sales success, customer retention, product development, and sales initiatives.
So, perhaps the question is not why do you need a marketing plan, but rather can you afford not to have one?
If you’re ready to get organised and could use some help in getting started, we’d love to give you the marketing advice you need. Sometimes all it takes is an extra set of eyes and pair of hands to take your business to the next level.
We welcome you to get in touch – your first meeting is on the house, and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.