There are some fantastic stats that demonstrate that having a marketing plan is inextricably linked to business success. So why don’t we all have one?
Let’s get the definition out of the way right at the beginning because that clearly isn’t the challenge here, so thanks to Wikipedia we know that a marketing plan is simply “a written document that details the necessary actions to achieve one or more marketing objectives.”
As simple as that, a marketing plan is the marketing strategy in a documented form, and we know all about marketing strategy from last week. So there is absolutely no difficulty there then, only it rather begs the question why don’t we all have a marketing plan?
And that is only the first of several questions including:
Why is it necessary to document your marketing strategy in a marketing plan?
What should you include in your marketing plan?
How do you go about creating a marketing plan in an efficient and effective way?
So to answer question number two first; why is it necessary to document your marketing strategy in a marketing plan? There are two really good reasons to document your marketing strategy.
Firstly, enlisting the support of others. You are likely to need some help to achieve your marketing objectives so whether it’s the bank manager, your team or your boss, having a document is a good way of convincing people of, and directing them in how, they can be helping you.
Secondly, staying on track and marking progress. When you are creating a marketing plan there is always a danger that you could get dragged off course and a documented point of reference is always useful in case you are off course or just rather sensibly marking your progress.
Question three, what should you include in your marketing plan?
Your marketing plan should include some information about where you are currently, an idea of what it is that you hope to achieve, how you are looking to position yourself in the marketplace, which proactive marketing initiatives you intend to implement, how you are going to get the very best value out of the leads that you generate and how you are going to measure the effectiveness of your marketing activity. Ideally you want to do all of that on a single page of A4 because anything more than that will take an age to produce and will never be read by anyone.
And that answers question number four. Developing a marketing plan is a bit like taking the lid of the spaghetti jar, or letting go of the kite strings on a particularly windy day, it can get messy. So if you want a plan that see’s the light of day and gets implemented it is important not to get too carried away, keep it simple and don’t try and document everything. If there is demand I will put together a template of a one page marketing plan.
OK, so the only question that we haven’t answered is question number one, why don’t we all have a marketing plan?
The answer is probably that we don’t really understand why it is necessary, what it should include or how to do it. Hopefully this post will have helped you with those questions in some way, but keep coming back because we will have more for you.
As stated above the first thing you need to understand when creating your marketing plain is where you are currently, what marketing people very grandly call “situational analysis.” That will be the topic of next week’s post so come back next Wednesday of you haven’t got a blogging clue about situational analysis.