Having a detailed and professionally crafted Marketing Plan with realistic and achievable short and long range goals is the single most important thing you can do to ensure the success of your business.
How Important Is Your Marketing Plan?
It is more important than raising money or even hiring the very best employees. It is, in some cases, more important than having the first or better product/service to market or having the lowest cost structure. By having a Marketing Plan, you are taking a huge step toward strategizing, positioning, planning, and managing your business well.
A great marketing plan analyzes key variables such as your target market and your competitors, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, to help you develop, change, or refine your business concept. It helps you challenge yourself to determine whether your concept is viable, and, importantly, if your concept is truly differentiated from your competitors in a way that really matters to customers. This is the part of the “secret sauce” that can lead to vastly higher profit margins and a dramatically faster growing business.
Marketing Plans Lead to Higher Profits
A great marketing plan pulls together all of the major issues facing your business in a balanced and analytical way. Creating your plan helps you to decide where to focus your resources and time in ways that will matter the most. Once your business is operating, your plan gives you a framework, a big picture, for evaluating the day-to-day issues and opportunities that you will encounter.
The Key Difference between a Marketing Plan and a Budget
Some people confuse a marketing plan with a budget, or think the budget is what matters most. Remember, the Plan is the business and a budget is not a business. A Marketing Plan can greatly increase your chances of success. But it needs to be a plan truly designed to operate the business, not just a plan designed to sound good on the surface merely to help you raise money. Even if you are absolutely sure you are going to succeed anyway, a great plan can raise the level of success you might achieve.
What Are the Key Elements of a Great Marketing Plan?
A good Plan should be relatively complete and address all aspects of your market, your customers, your competitors, and, of course, your business and your budget. But a complete plan isn’t necessarily a great plan. You may decide some elements of your plan are much less important and spend less time focusing on them, or even skip them altogether. What really matters is how much deep thought you gave to the elements that matter most.
You want to challenge yourself, challenge your initial thoughts, challenge the way you were planning to do business or are currently doing business. You want to approach it with the idea of exploring possibilities. Yes, it may be possible to do something really different. Yes, it may be possible to make some tweaks and have really better results next year. But if you can think positively and envision a great outcome, you will be much more likely to achieve one.
Planning out your marketing is very important, but is hard to find marketing that always works, and even if it starts to work it can often fall off. However, great marketing is not a substitute for true product differentiation.
How Should I Get Started on My Marketing Plan?
The hardest part of creating a plan is getting started even if you only have a few minutes, jot down a few thoughts, a few sentences, a few fragments. In most cases it it a good idea to have someone else help you with your plan so that it actually gets done. That person might be a business associate, if they have the time, or a qualified professional consultant who understands business and marketing. Especially a detailed marketing plan with objectives, strategies, tactics, and budgets. Because that’s where the success of the business will be.
You Have a Completed Marketing Plan. Now What?
An obstacle remains in implementing your plan to help you succeed: everything else that happens every day. Soon after you finish your plan, the tendency is often to jump back into the thick of things: The tendency is to then forget about your business plan. Ask yourself:
What was your plan for how you were going to change your product or service?
What was your plan for how much you were going to spend on marketing this month?
What was your plan for prioritizing your time?
SOS specializes in Turnaround Marketing, a process dedicated to marketing renewal. We use analysis and planning to save troubled companies and return them to financial solvency, and to identify the reasons for failing performance in the market and correct them.
Free Offer: Request our Turnaround Marketing Plan Worksheet customized for your business. Use the form below.
For more information, contact SOS at 760.345.5069, email, or use the form below.