A strong marketing plan is essential to a good return on your marketing efforts.
Yet too many growing mid-sized companies don’t have one. This means that, for many, decisions tend to be driven (warning, harsh words ahead) by a mixture of the choices of an overburdened junior, a set of high-level goals, and/or the appeal of whichever new marketing tactic or tool appears to be the most attractive.
You’re likely on this page because you are worried your marketing activities lack at least one of rigour, focus, or follow-through. You suspect you have a lot to gain by developing a detailed marketing plan to guide your efforts and better yet, maximize your results. You’re right.
Once you develop a solid marketing plan you have a roadmap and an itinerary. You have a detailed plan of where you are going and how you plan to get there. The plan – a living document that should be referenced and revisited often – helps you to keep on track and to adhere to your stated objectives.
Sticking to your plan ensures that you benefit from the hard thinking and documented goals that went into it in the first place. A good marketing plan almost invariably increases the return on your marketing investment.
Our Five Cs articulate the benefits of a marketing plan, and how it can drive business success.
- Bringing Clarity
Above all else, a marketing plan delivers clarity, providing the focus and direction required to successfully plan and execute marketing activities that align with and help achieve your business goals. A marketing plan ensures that the right activities are taking place at the right time, for the right audience through the right channels – without duplication of efforts, uncertainty, or wasted resources.
- Determining and minimizing Cost
A strong and strategic marketing plan can help your organization determine your marketing budget allocation in a way that aligns with your overall business objectives. It can also prevent wasted dollars by providing a framework you’ll use to assess every opportunity.
- Delivering Consistency
Marketing in not a quick fix or a one-time-thing. It’s a journey. If the trip is disorganized or travel path disjointed, you weaken your brand and muddy the message. By guiding all marketing-related efforts within your organization, a plan eliminates guessing, duplication of effort and mixed messages. The result is a stronger, more marketable brand.
Once you link your high-level, longer-term roadmap with daily, weekly and monthly actions, your plan will help reinforce consistency and commitment to the process.
- Engendering Coordination
A marketing plan ensures all your leaders and departments are singing from the same song sheet. In our experience, this leads to better coordination of efforts across departments, while decreasing misunderstandings, dead ends, and internal battles. It delivers transparency regarding your marketing initiatives and how they support your overall goals – and transparency is a powerful tool in aligning your sales, marketing, finance and organizational leaders.
- Providing Control
When marketing is done haphazardly, you don’t know what’s working and what’s not. With a marketing plan, on the other hand, you have full visibility into not only the initiatives themselves, but how they will be tracked and measured. This full picture view allows for more control over the journey, and the ability to adjust the levers in a strategic and coordinated way if, as, and when necessary.
Thinking you need help with creating or improving your marketing plan? Email Melanie.