Behind every successful business there is an effective marketing plan – a road map to success.
One of the greatest reasons that companies fail is that they react to urgent things, and rarely invest in important things.
Making a commitment to write a marketing plan is the first step in your business goal setting. Integrate your objectives, rationale, time lines and budget, and the marketing plan becomes an instrument for continued improvement and increased profitability.
Without a marketing plan you will have dreams and aspirations – valuable as they may be – floating around unable to take root; to grow and flourish; and to contribute to your success.
Before you can write your marketing plan you need to address some key components. If you have a team involve them in the process, and have some fun doing it.
The key components you should include look at: –
1. Your Executive Summary – write it, and then rewrite it when you have finished your marketing plan.
2. Your Goals and principal marketing objectives – which should be clear and measurable.
3. Your Business – Define important characteristics about your business, your strengths and weaknesses both corporately and individually. Evaluate where there is waste in terms of time and resources.
4. Your Customers, both potential and existing – especially what qualities do your customers value most about your product or service?
5. Your Competitors – how do you differ, and what makes you better.
6. Your Product or Service
7. Your Location – with its advantages and disadvantages
8. Decide on which marketing activities suite your business profile and requirements – be prepared to step outside your comfort zone. Take advice if you need to, and outsource what you can’t do effectively.
9. Your Budget – Your overall budget, and then your budget for the different marketing activities.
10. Your Pricing Strategy
Without the need to prepare a marketing plan you would not necessarily address these different components from a constructive point of view.
This information is key for your growth and development. This is why you need a marketing plan, without it you could be losing potential and profitability. You will have a benchmark for future growth.
Once you have the basis of a realistic marketing plan break your time lines down into short-term goals, medium term goals and long term goals. Medium and long-term goals can be changed if and when it becomes appropriate.
Now take your short-term goals and further break them down into achievable bite sized tasks. Then allocate time for them on a frequent basis.
If it helps put the days / weeks short-term task where it can be seen as a constant reminder. As you see the task-in-hand, your subconscious mind notices and starts converting your plan into action.
Without your time lines broken down the whole marketing plan can seem to daunting and “put off for another day” as other demands become more pressing. Remember without it you will tend to react to urgent things and not invest in your future.
Having a marketing plan, or road map, will give you a sense of purpose and direction; make you feel so much more positive, and give you a sense of self worth because you are investing in your future.
Without a marketing plan you will lose out on so much positive feelings about yourself and what you are doing – you may even wonder how you are ever going to get of the treadmill of mediocrity.
Over the course of the short and mid term goals you will probably trip over opportunities that did not initially present themselves. With the back drop of a sound marketing plan you will be able to sift through these ideas and see if they “fit” your objectives and can and should be integrated into your marketing plan.
Without a marketing plan you may dismiss perfect opportunities for you, or clutch at any passing fancy as being the right “fix”.
When we are run off our feet with urgent work we long for a quiet moment to take a deep breath – and yet when it happens we panic because there’s no business!
These moments of quiet can now be welcomed as a positive time to review the marketing plan, catch up and bring things back on track.
Be honest with yourself and ask yourselves the following types of questions: –
“Are the assumptions we made about the market still valid?
Do our strategies still make sense?
Which tactics do we need to implement?”
Without a marketing plan we tend to act like a “rabbit in the headlights” running for safety under all the wrong bushes – and would not use the time to invest in our future.
Keep faith in yourself, keep faith in what you do and have the confidence to invest in your future by creating a marketing plan, your road map to success. Remember to proudly sign it and date it – and own it.
1. A marketing plan makes ideas a reality
Without it your dreams can stay as dreams
2. A marketing plan forces you to address key factors that affect you and your success.
Without it you do not have the knowledge that can make the difference between success and failure
3. A marketing plan gives you sign posts
Without it you can get lost along the way
4. A marketing plan makes each step along the way achievable
Without it you can become overwhelmed and not know where to start
5. A marketing plan gives you hope and self worth
Without it you can feel rudderless and a sense of despair
6. A marketing plan sifts ideas
Without it you can dismiss golden opportunities or throw energy at activities not on-strategy for you
7. A plan gives you something to go back to in slow times
Without it you could panic and not use the time creatively