Barron’s defines a marketing plan as “a plan that specifies the marketing goals and objectives to be achieved over a specific time period and then lays out the various strategies to be followed in achieving them.” Simply put, a marketing plan is your road map to success. It will define and articulate your strategy, guide your decision-making process and keep your entire team focused on the current objectives, filtering out those activities that are not aligned with your company vision. Add in a disciplined execution and you are well positioned for success.
One of the often-overlooked benefits of writing a marketing plan is the period of reflection at the start of the process. What’s working? What’s not? How did we get here? When was the last time you took a truly deep dive and actioned the results? Writing the plan will provide clarity and help identify gaps in current strategy.
Every marketing dollar you spend has an impact on the bottom line and in today’s economic climate you need to make every dollar work hard and efficiently. Companies are bombarded by advertisers day in and day out with some attractive and not-so-attractive opportunities to spend your limited budget. Regardless of whether you have a conservative budget or a multimillion dollar budget, you need a plan to keep you on track. A small business making a small misstep can hurt just a much, if not more, than a large company making a big misstep – it’s economy of scale.
Further to being a road map, the marketing plan is your detailed action plan fully integrating all marketing disciplines. Through the process of writing your plan, you will set clear, realistic and measurable goals. Your strategies will break up what feel like overwhelming objectives into bite sized steps complete with detailed tasks that individually may not look like much but collectively will leverage all the tools at your disposal keeping all of your efforts laser focused on the vision.
If you are fortunate enough to work with a team, write your plan in a collaborative environment. Opening up the process adds immense value. A variety of opinions and experiences can provide a 360° perspective while inclusion naturally delivers buy-in and engagement.
“I’m in! Where do we start?” you ask. If your skills don’t lie in marketing, contact me today. I can work as an extension of your team to help you dig in and develop your marketing plan. Also keep an eye out for my next post: “Anatomy of a Marketing Plan”.