Marketers have a saying: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
So, let’s cut to the chase and discuss why you need a plan. A marketing plan is a dedicated road map for businesses to reach their consumers and drive sales. Whether you’re a one-person show or a major corporate across multiple locations, every business needs a marketing plan. As important as marketing plans are, many small business owners don’t devote the time and resources to developing an actionable marketing plan.
Why is a marketing plan so important?
A marketing plan sets out business goals, including your ideal target market and how to reach them. It is your plan of action for the marketing activities you will undertake to grow your business.
Why do you need a marketing plan?
A marketing plan gives your business something consistent to work from and holds you accountable. It gives you something to show employees, to help them understand your business and audience so they are all singing from the same sheet of music. A marketing plan can help business owners and their teams manage their time. A clearly written, action-based marketing plan helps to avoid procrastination or getting side-tracked by time-consuming and off-strategy activities. A clear direction will allow you to stay on track with marketing spending by eliminating unplanned, unnecessary, or frivolous spending.
Equally, if you are looking for funds to start up a business or expand your existing business, a bank will want to view your marketing plan. If you are selling your business, potential acquirers will want to understand your marketing strategy.
What does a marketing plan look like?
Every marketer writes their marketing plans differently, however there are some fundamental components in every marketing plan, which include:
- Review of company strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT Analysis)
- Competitor review
- Company vision and values
- What makes the company unique (Unique Selling Proposition – USP)
- Details of the target market(s), segmented into groups as required
- Products / Service offer and it’s pricing
- Where your products/services are positioned in the market
- Detailed channel(s) to market
- Marketing tactics to be undertaken to reach the desired target market
- Timeline for implementation
A clear marketing strategy allows your team to have absolute clarity over what makes the business unique, its values, who it is reaching, where the business is going, its growth target, and how you are going to get there.
So, why bother with a marketing plan in small business? Well, if you write it, follow it, and review it regularly, it will help your business succeed and stay in business for years to come.