I am always amazed when I become involved in new business situations and learn there is no marketing plan in place. Even a brief or ultra high level plan is better than no plan, yet many businesses live without a plan at all.
I’ve had all the conversations and heard all the “explanations” of why there is no marketing plan in place. These explanations soon start to sound redundant and point to the same recurring fears that executives have about marketing plans. Now, in talking to these folks, I believe these fears are real to the executive, they just don’t hold water upon an inspection of the facts.
Here then, are my Top 5 Reasons You Must Have a Written Marketing Plan:
- It really doesn’t need to take long. Developing a marketing plan can take a long time and often does. There may even be reasons to take more time and gather data, talk to customers, etc. However, there are techniques that can create a viable marketing plan in a day or two. Many businesses need this type of quick plan and execution to capitalize on market opportunities or to refocus the marketing effort immediately.
- No business is too small. Many folks think that a formal marketing plan is the domain of the large multinational firms and not for a very small business. Nothing could be further from the truth. If your business needs customers to survive, then you need a plan to get them.
- It’s more than a just a document. The process of putting together a plan will include many stakeholders who gradually understand and buy in to the plan as it’s developed and aspects are discussed. Getting the team in alignment is an important goal of a marketing planning process.
- Planning is the only time you focus on the big picture. Growing a business is often an exercise in firefighting. Solving this morning’s problems. No time to worry about the big picture. All the more reason that periodically you step back and chart a course for the future. Otherwise you may find yourself with a rudderless ship you cannot control.
- “Failing to plan is planning to fail” I hate to roll out this old cliché, but in this case it fits. Your likelihood of any success is much higher if you set the goal and create a plan to get there. Hope is not a strategy. Without a plan you will waste resources, be forced to make panic decisions and, since you have no clear goal to reach, will ultimately fail.
Looks like I have presented a pretty poor prognosis for anyone who does not use a marketing plan. I do so because it is the largely the case. Marketing is one area of business that needs to be carefully planned and results examined and the plan continually adjusted. Don’t wait! Begin today!
Do you have a written marketing plan in place? Do the points above address the reasons why not?
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