Control your marketing with a plan
Marketing plans are very useful. As long as they’re right for your business. All a marketing plan does is identify:
- What you want to sell
- Who you want to sell to
- Where you’re going to look for them
- What you’re going to say to them when you find them
- Why they should buy it from you
- Who will do it
- When it will be done
- The resources you’ll use and
- How you’ll measure the results
You can do that on two sides of A4 paper or you might need a more involved plan. But you do need one. If you don’t have a marketing plan and you’re working on your own, how are you going to guide your efforts and keep yourself focused? If your marketing is done by other people who work with you, how do you control their efforts? And how do they know what they’re supposed to be doing? Most importantly, how can you tell when things aren’t going to plan?
Without a plan, your marketing investment becomes a lottery
Marketing plans make people accountable for achieving results. But sometimes the plan itself isn’t as important as the act of planning. What was it General Eisenhower said about plans?
“Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.”
He didn’t mean, “don’t have a plan”. He was talking about the fact that he had never come across a plan that survived contact with the enemy without needing to be changed. The fact that some planning had been done beforehand meant that there were known options to choose from. You don’t have time to think things through from first principles when you’re staring the enemy in the face. Planning means having options and alternatives. You might not like them but you still have a choice and it’s better than guessing.
It’s the same with your marketing. Without a plan you’re carrying out a random attack on a marketplace. If that doesn’t work you can carry out another random attack on another marketplace. Without planning you don’t know where you’re attacking, what you’re attacking with, what you hope to achieve or how you’ll know when it’s not working.
Planning is cheaper than guessing.
So the next time someone tells you that you don’t need a marketing plan (or strategy) and that you should concentrate on “implementing” instead, ask them why they think that?
- What do they suggest you implement?
- How much do they think it’s going to cost?
- What is the implementation intended to achieve?
- What resources will be used to implement and how will you control them?
Implementation without planning is what Dan Kennedy (a noted marketer from the USA) calls “blind archery”. It’s a lovely description isn’t it?
When you’re working alongside blind archer marketers you’re quite safe, they’ll never hit you unless they get lucky. On the other hand, you might feel a pain in your wallet.
- They can’t see the target
- They can’t see the arrows
- They can’t see where the arrows go
- They can’t tell if they’ve hit the target (or if they’ve missed it)
- But they can shoot a lot of arrows…
Is that how you want your business marketing to run?
If not and you’d like to put together a marketing plan (remember it can start on 2 sides of A4 paper)