Good planning underpins all successful ventures. Before we head off on holidays or to a suburb we’re unfamiliar with, we plot the route on a map. Good planning prevents us getting lost. Before a team gets out onto the sports field, they devise a strategy, or ‘game plan’. Planning increases their chances of winning. Even a great night out begins with a bit of venue and transport planning – just to maximise the fun to be had.
It’s no different at work: if you’re running a small to medium enterprise, good planning will guide you along the path to success, positive customer engagement and ultimately, profitability.
I recently wrote an article for the Australian Businesswomen’s Network in which I likened a marketing plan to architectural plans drawn up before a house is built. (Read the piece here: http://www.abn.org.au/blog/building-home-building-marketing-plan-common-think/).
Running a business can be stressful, challenging and sometimes downright difficult, and many of us fall into the trap of ‘doing’ rather than ‘planning’. With so many demands on your time, it’s an easy pattern to fall into. But think about what would happen if a builder showed up on site and started building without a plan? Would he start with the foundations or with the four walls? Would the end result be a logically set-out, beautiful home or a mish-mash of disconnected rooms likely to tumble down like a house of cards at any minute? What a waste of money, time and resources that would be.
The same goes for your business marketing. Without a marketing plan, your strategies will be disconnected, possibly illogical. You may not be on-message or successfully reach and impact your target market. And any money and effort you pour into marketing without forward planning will be wasted.
So I cannot stress enough the importance of investing time and money into putting together a well-considered marketing plan. It will light the way in terms of where to spend your marketing dollars for maximum effectiveness and impact, and help you create a strategy that compounds over time – reinforcing the right message to the right audience. A good plan will bring focus to your marketing efforts, ultimately leading to that holy grail of greater profitability.
So, before you book any more ads or write another press release, pick up your pen, put on your thinking cap and start planning. Some key points to consider include:
• Your business strategy & objectives
• Your marketing budget & resources
• Product and services
• Target market
• Brand strategy and brand experience
• Unique selling point/s and key messages
• Competitors and where you sit within the marketplace
• Channels to market
• Key sales cycles and peak times of year.
• An activity calendar so you can schedule it and make it actionable
The benefits of looking at all these factors and planning where each dollar will be spent are endless: It will result in a professional, integrated and strategic campaign. You’ll save cash by sticking to a budget, and by being in a position to maximise relevant opportunities as they arise. In short, you’ll get better results on less effort and a sensible spend.
It’s advisable to update your marketing plan annually as your business grows and evolves over time. Regular reviews will also keep your marketing strategies and messages fresher, relevant and interesting for your target market.
Unsure where to start? Blaze Marketing can tailor the perfect marketing strategy for your business. Just give us a call on 02 8005 4000.