No need to deny, marketing is one of the most important components of the success of any business. But regrettably, small and even medium-sized businesses often act in this direction chaotically, ill-conceived and without any idea of the final result. These are some fragments of other people’s marketing plans and tactics, the thoughtless use of methods and tools without any system. The result is rather pitiable – all the funds expended are lost without bringing any dividends. We propose to return to the beginning and start developing a marketing plan. And that’s why…
1. The marketing plan provides guidance
A marketing plan is actually an action plan that tells you what steps to take at a particular moment in time. How will this guide look like? If you discard the specifics of the business and other individual moments, you can eventually get the following …
- Analysis of the situation: This, in fact, “cut” the business, answers to key questions. Who you are? What is your unique offer? What are your strengths and weaknesses compared to the competitors’ business?
- The target audience: Who are your target customers? What is their age, gender, where they live, what are they interested in, how much they earn?
- The ultimate goal of marketing: Many for some reason are engaged in marketing for the sake of marketing, although in fact you should have a clear understanding of what you ultimately want to achieve (sales growth, increasing the number or improving the quality of customers, bringing business to a new level, increasing brand awareness, etc.).
- Strategies: What step-by-step need to be done to achieve the goals, and by what methods should this be done?
- Budget: If business growth is one of the priorities, then marketing should have its own regularly replenished budget.
2. … keeps focused
It seems that the possibilities of marketing in the digital age are virtually limitless. But along with the advantages of this situation, it also has its drawbacks. The main one is easy to get lost and distract from the original goal. Having a clearly formulated marketing plan, you will actually have a step-by-step guide to the action that will form an understanding of the situation and will return to the chosen path, if suddenly you involuntarily get distracted (or carried away). It will keep you within the framework of those technologies and methods that have already been reviewed, analyzed and found to be suitable for achieving the set goals.
3. … helps to control the budget
You are a small business owner, so you probably know how important it is to have a budget and stick to it. Of course, you can try to spin the business with free technologies. But then you need either luck, or a lot of time and effort, or unique professionals who are ready to work on pure enthusiasm. Therefore, as mentioned above, the budget is one of the main components of any solid marketing plan. Not having a plan, but allocating money for some steps to promote business, it is very easy to get into a situation where money is spent and no results are received. Or much more money was spent than you could afford.
4. … sets the timeframe
If you are by nature a procrastinator, then the marketing plan will be a real rescue for you. Even if you are not one of those who are distracted by trivialities, engaging in a new and complex business can substantially push the rest of business affairs to the background. As a rule, the development of a marketing plan sets the time limits for achieving certain results. And according to these terms and points of the plan you are acting, thus leaving time for other equally important matters.
5. … measures success
Do you know what is the most difficult in any business? Set the criteria that will serve as the yardsticks of success. And if in sales these criteria are absolutely transparent and obvious (sales volumes), then in other areas they are much harder to identify. For a marketing campaign, it is very important to determine what will mean its success, otherwise how do you understand that your expenses pay off? This can help the campaign plan, because in it will be thought out the main milestones and results for each stage, which will inform you that the task is completed and it’s time to move on. And in the end, a clear goal will be formulated, the achievement of which will mean the success of the entire marketing campaign.
So, going back to the question put in the headline of our article – yes, your small business needs a marketing plan if you want to optimize and recoup your marketing investments.