A Marketing Plan - Part 1: Why You Need One
Amy Durbin on 09/06/2017
A marketing plan’s focus is on winning and keeping customers, and it spells out all of the tactics and tools that you’ll use to achieve your goals, whether it’s to grow revenue, add new customers, or retain current clients.
Sounds important, right? (It should...because it is!) Still, a lot of companies don’t have them in place. Maybe it’s because you didn’t know you should have one in place. Perhaps your boss doesn’t see the importance of a marketing plan. Or maybe it just plain sounded intimidating. Whatever the reason, we want you to know that you really do need one. Here’s why:
Without one, your marketing will be scattered, inconsistent, and without trajectory. Sure, you’ll get some print pieces out, but if your efforts aren’t strategic with clear objectives and backed up with facts, then they’re not going to be as effective as they could be.
A good marketing plan is your plan of action—your marketing roadmap, if you will. What are you selling? Who will want to buy it? And how can we make that happen? The better you can understand your customers, the better you’ll be able to take action toward delivering your product or service to them.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you even put pen to paper...er...start typing out your marketing plan.
Plan to make plans
Any successful marketing plan is going to take time, so careful planning should be a goal. Don’t rush through the process just to get one into your boss’ hands. Be prepared that this will take some careful planning, but it will be worth the effort in the end. (We promise!)
Keep it simple, sweetheart
Don’t overthink it. Your marketing plan doesn’t have to be a novella. In fact, the more simple and straightforward it is, the easier it will be to carry out. You might think of it as telling a brief story—covering the key points of your strategy moving forward.
Most likely, you will go through several iterations of your marketing plan before you end up with a final version. If you have a hard deadline for finishing your marketing plan (i.e. before an important board meeting), then set up a goal of having your first draft finished a few weeks before to give yourself ample time.
Money makes the world go ‘round
As you prepare to put together your marketing plan, you’ll need to know the scope of your budget. After all, if your marketing budget for the year is $5 million, your marketing plan is going to look far different than if it’s $5,000. That said, make sure you know the marketing dollars you have to work with before you even attempt to put a plan into place.
Have we convinced you that you really do need a marketing plan? That’s the goal. Well, and to prepare you to put one together. Stay tuned for Part 2 in our Marketing Plan series as we delve into target audiences and SWOT analyses. (FUN!)
If you’ve never done a marketing plan before, we get that it might sound intimidating. But you can do it! (We believe in you!) If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love helping clients with this stuff!