Are You a Man (or Woman) Without a Plan? 5 Steps to a Better Marketing Plan
Updated: Jul 28, 2022
Driving through my Orlando suburb, I see so many businesses that are destined to fail. It pains me, because I know with proper planning, these businesses would have been successful. That’s all it takes. Do you have a marketing plan?
Many companies have business plans, primarily to secure financing. But marketing plans tend to get overlooked, maybe because a marketing plan is for you, not your investors. Businesses may not see them as necessary, but they absolutely are! A marketing plan will help you prioritize your actions and lay out a clear step-by-step map to help guide you to grow your business, and in conjunction with your budget, will help you determine the scope of what you will and will not be able to accomplish.
Step 1: Marketing Plan SWOT
For my fellow MBAs, SWOT is all too familiar. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Jot down what your company’s strong points are, as well as areas it could use a little work. Survey your industry and determine where there are opportunities for your business to grow, and where competitors may threaten to take some of your market share. If you want more in depth information on SWOT, click here.
Step 2: Marketing Creativity
Now comes the fun part. You get creative. Think about all the forms of marketing that appeal to you or that are hot in your market. If you’re really savvy (or hire me) think of marketing ideas that aren’t yet abuzz, but soon will be. Riding the wave of Marketing 2.0 may be your key to success.
Research ROI and costs involved, and decide which aren’t worth the trouble. Mark them off your list. ROI on marketing is a dark art at best, so a gut check may be in order as well as tight status checking to ensure you don’t bet the bank on an inappropriate marketing mix.
Step 3: Cut Your Marketing Pie
Decide how much of your money and efforts you want to put into each form of advertising. The easiest thing to do is draw a chart (or just a circle on paper if you’re lazy and graph-challenged like me) and slice it up with your marketing tools. Again, this is where your budget will help you greatly in the planning process.
Step 4: Save the Date
Organize your marketing plan into the calendar year. Know which methods you’ll implement in Quarter 1, Month 3, and so on. Take into consideration any advertising deadlines you may have to meet.
Step 5: Follow Up On Your Marketing Plan
Don’t create your plan and shove it in a file in your desk. Keep it within eyesight, and refer back to it each month to ensure you’re still on track (Remember the ‘tight status checking I referred to in point 2? That’s what this is for!). Don’t be afraid to bend a little. Every entrepreneur knows flexibility is the key to success. Modify your plan every quarter or year if necessary.