Why do I need a marketing plan?
A marketing plan helps you promote products and services in your business that meet the needs of your target market. It requires research, time and commitment, but is a very valuable process that can greatly contribute to your business success.
Writing and researching for your marketing plan gives you the chance to:
- Identify your target market and understand how your product or service meets their needs.
- Identify your competitors and what your target customers think about your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Position your brand, products and services so that your target market sees your business as better than, or different from, the competition.
- Set specific, measurable goals and time frames for your marketing activities.
- Map out a strategy to reach your target audience, including the messages, channels and tools you will use.
Your marketing plan should be at the top of your ‘to do’ list.
Whilst a business plan helps define the direction for your company, a marketing plan will help your business understand how to get there and sets out how you are going to put your marketing strategy into practice.
When you’ve got a marketing plan you have a framework for how to put your best foot forward. It’s a starting point, a ‘line in the sand.’
You also have a really useful means to discipline yourself. For example, when somebody tries to sell you something like an advertising or promotional opportunity which sounds like an amazing price – you go back to your marketing plan and check whether this ‘great deal’ fits in with your objectives and priorities.
Marketing plans also help us as advisors to our clients; they provide a deeper understanding of the marketplace, business offering and positioning, enabling more thorough and confident recommendations and planning.
Each marketing plan that we carry out may look similar in terms of headings and approach, however each one is tailored specifically to the needs and characteristics of the business and its marketplace.
It can be hard to write your marketing plan
Building a marketing plan involves a lot of knowledge and understanding of an individual business, so it is tempting to think that the person best placed to write it would be the business owner. In reality there are several reasons why it’s hard to make a marketing plan for your own business. First and foremost it’s always hard to set aside the time – there always seems to be something more urgent to be done “in” the business as opposed to “on” or “about” it.
Secondly, it is important to have a real understanding of marketing, of what needs to be considered and how. Often there is so much to consider that it can be hard for a business owner to ‘see the wood for the trees’ and know where to focus.
A marketing background and training together with hands on experience in researching, analysing and writing marketing plans is really important – practice does start to make perfect! And because we deal work with businesses of all shapes, sizes and industry sectors we become practised too at borrowing good practice from one situation and bringing it to bear in another.
And thirdly, it helps to have a degree of impartiality and objectivity about this process. When it’s your own business it can be quite hard to have to face up to having maybe missed warning signs (even though you know exactly why that was) or simply having got buried in the ‘day-to-day’.
Your marketing plan provides a new insight
Making a marketing plan is an opportunity for a “new” day and is a very positive process, but it can be a little close for comfort and in some ways it’s much easier to see the plan in its positive light, when viewed from a distance.
It’s worth remembering that every successful marketing plan is actually a planning process, not just a plan. It entails regular review and revision.
If you think your business could do with a little “refresh” right now, especially if you’ve got to make decisions about spending money and want to make sure you’re not going to be wasting it, do get in touch with us at Bartley Marketing for a no obligation chat.
We can assist you in your marketing planning process and also write your marketing plan for you.
A relatively small amount spent now on a marketing plan could save you a lot in the future.