Many businesses operate with a “seat-of-the-pants” marketing plan. A good marketing plan will work as a guide to ensure all your marketing channels are operating to their fullest capacity.
A marketing plan sets up measurable results against which a business can determine its return on investment (ROI).
Some sound advice on marketing plans
- You can operate your business without a marketing plan, but you can’t really run your business. Maybe you’ve been getting by with the status quo, but could you do better? A marketing plan tells everyone on the team what the payoff will be and how you’re going to get there.
- Quality is better than quantity. If you set out to immediately write a 10-year marketing plan, you’re likely to be rewriting around year two! Times are changing and your marketing tools should be too. Spend time narrowing down your plan to the activities that will bring you the largest ROI (return on investment) in the shortest period of time.
- Consider your audience. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on marketing and advertising if you’re aiming it at the wrong people. Current marketing tools provide a way for you to narrow your focus to only those audience members who are your best potential customers.
- Set an implementation schedule. Give yourself time to gather everything you’ll need (i.e. editorial calendar, great photos, inspiring content) and outline a specific schedule for execution.
- Have a backup plan. Just like your marketing plan can go out of date, it can also go sideways just as quickly. Stay abreast of new tools and constantly evaluate the effectiveness of your existing tools. When something goes wrong (and it will) be prepared to make the best of it with your “second-choice” activity.
- Make the marketing plan easy to follow. Tell your staff about the marketing plan and explain in it detail. Knowing what’s in the plan can help your employees become brand ambassadors for your company.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. In the 1980s and ’90s, a business could live off the same marketing plan for 5-7 years. Not so much anymore.
Marketing is a skill, a talent, and a science. It’s also a necessity for your small business. Take steps to ramp up your marketing today by reaching out to a marketing consultant or mentor.