Why do you need a marketing plan? I have heard so often that a marketing plan is something that feels to big a piece of work, it sounds daunting and feels intimidating. It needn’t be; your plan should be about boiling things down in to basic and logical steps, with each element laying the foundation for the next. If taking the time to think about and write your strategy feels like a task that you are procrastinating, then perhaps it is time that you crossed the time out the diary, got the relevant people together and got started.
So why do you need a marketing plan?
1. It defines how you will win.
It is not about simply competing or showing up for the game. It’s about winning. Yet if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, how will you know when you have won? So, set a stake in the ground and decide your objectives, and then decide how you are going to achieve them.
When you know your objectives you can focus on achieving them. Strategy certainly isn’t just about what you do. Just as importantly, it’s about what you don’t do. We all do things that (when we stop and think about it) aren’t helping us to achieve our goals. Having a clear strategy will help you to identify these things quickly, so that you can concentrate your limited time and resources on the things that really make a difference.
3. Puts your customer at the heart of your thinking.
The truth is that customers will only buy from you if they can easily see why the product or service that you are offering is of benefit to them. This customer focus is vital.
As Sam Walton from Walmart said: “There is only one boss. The customer. He can fire everyone in the company from the chairman down, simply by spending his money elsewhere.” You can only deliver customer satisfaction if you know their needs and wants, and focus on delivering them better than your competitors. So many times, especially when we are busy, we focus on looking inside the organisation at cost control, at HR issues and countless other internal processes. These are all important, of course. But true insight? That’s gained from looking up and out.
4. Assessing ideas and options.
Planning is the time to be open to new thoughts and discuss possible new ways of doing things. Assessing them against each other allows you to prioritise your time and effort on the things that are the most important in delivering business objectives.
5. Allows you to articulate your strategy to your team.
Involvement is a key factor in motivation, and yet it is a sad fact that it has been estimated that only 1/3 of employees know their company strategy. If they know what you are trying to achieve it is logical that they are in a better position to help you achieve it.
6. A sense of control.
When you know what you are trying to achieve and have your action plan set out in front of you, the guess work is largely taken away. So, you have greater control of those all-important limited resources of time and budget.
7. Learning makes us better, faster.
We only learn when we stop to evaluate. And it goes without saying that this is so much easier when you have clear objectives. It’s a cliche, but today’s environment is moving faster than ever. So your plan should be a live document, helping you to assess what has worked and what hasn’t.
Look at where you got lucky, what you did well and what you could have done better. Making the effort to evaluate activity means you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. This saves you time, money and frustration whilst encouraging higher performance and motivation.
So, why not make the time for a your marketing plan now. Supercharge your marketing activity and set your business up to win. If you would like any help to get your business on track, please get in touch.