Marketing is the method by which you communicate information about your business to clients and consumers. That is, you put information about your business into the market in the hope of furthering your business interest and reaching a broader audience. To do this effectively requires detailed planning and time; this is where creating a marketing plan comes in.
A marketing plan is more than an outline of the method or tools you will use to reach potential customers and clients. Creating a plan involves first taking a step back to look at your business as a whole and establishing key objectives, then developing a strategic approach to what type of information you wish to communicate, what market segments you want to engage with, and how to target these segments.
Regardless of your business size or where your business is at right now, I encourage you to invest in a marketing plan because it will benefit your business and clients in many different ways!
Key benefits of having a marketing plan:
1. Provide you with focus and direction.
Having a marketing plan allows you to narrow down your marketing objectives for the year, clearly lay out what you are working towards and the steps needed to get there. And while your marketing plan, like a business plan, should be a fluid and ever-changing document where you can add new things and take out what is no longer needed, when you know exactly what you are working to achieve with your marketing and communication efforts, you are able to stay on track and avoid distractions that don't support your greater goals.
2. Allow you to be proactive instead of reactive.
When you always know your next steps, you allow yourself the opportunity to plan and prepare for what is coming next. This means you aren't left scrambling trying to put together a last-minute promotion or content. At the same time, you are prepared to pivot or seize new opportunities with an understanding of how these changes would fit into your existing plan.
3. Allocate resources effectively and efficiently.
Your marketing plan will outline the demand on your resources through the year, allowing you to plan ahead and ensure you have the time, energy, and support in place when and where they are needed.
Additionally, by conducting a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis as part of your plan development, you capture a more accurate picture of where your business is in relation to its competitors as well as the market. Meaning, you are better equipped to use your resources to capitalize on your strengths, take advantage of opportunities, and mitigate any risks.
4. Keep you organized and consistent.
A marketing plan should be an easy-to-follow outline with everything laid out and organized into actionable steps. This well-laid plan makes it easy to understand your next steps as you work through the year. Which, in turn, allows you to be purposeful and consistent with your marketing and communication efforts.
5. Provide clarity and ensure everyone is on the same page.
A marketing plan works to give you, as a business owner, clarity on how you are positioning your business and communicating with your target audience. At the same time, your plan works as a guide for your whole team or any other company that might support your operations. When everyone involved understands what you offer, who you are looking to attract and how you plan to do it, they can more collectively focus their efforts on supporting your goals.
6. Overall, marketing plans make marketing easier.
"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success." When you take time to map out what you are trying to do and how you will do it, all other decisions become instantly easier. Your efforts become more focused and strategic. You can spend less time and energy while feeling confident that everything is working cohesively to achieve your greater business goals.
If you are unsure how to create a marketing plan or are looking for support through this process, Etched In Marketing can help! Contact us to set up a free discovery call to learn more.