Why a Marketing Plan is Critical to Your Business
The reason why a Marketing Plan is critical, especially for a small business is that marketing plan provides clear guidance to grow your business. Think of it like a treasure map, except this treasure is increased revenues for your business. Like any map, the marketing plan increases efficiency, eliminates guesses, and reduces errors, to save time and money.
A lack of strategic planning can be detrimental to any business, large or small. Without a marketing plan, businesses have no sense of focus or knowledge of who they’re marketing to, making their message come across as disjointed or muddled. This means that potential customers won’t be able to quickly understand if your business is what they need, and they’ll pass you along.
It also can cause a waste of money and resources. If, instead of having a plan, time and money is spent on experimenting and trying random techniques, more money can be wasted in the long run. Having a step-by-step process can help a business have a better grasp on what’s doable, what’s not a waste of time, and what exactly can fit towards the budget.
A Look at the Numbers
A crucial aspect of running a business that is often overlooked, marketing is essential for success. A survey of small business owners found that an estimated 50% of small businesses operate without a marketing plan – this study also concluded that 55% of small business owners spend less than 5% of their annual revenue on marketing, and 86% would rather spend time on other aspects of their business.
But – did you know that increasing your time and money investment on a marketing strategy as much as 5% can positively affect your revenue? This study remarks that 81% of respondents who invested between 5% and 10% of their annual revenue saw revenue growth last year.
That’s the point of having a business – to grow your revenue! So, what happens when you don’t use a marketing plan?
The Four P’s of Marketing
So, now that you know how important a marketing plan is, as well as how it can harm your business if you don’t have one, it’s time to start making one! Here are the four P’s of marketing that can help you start building a successful marketing strategy that will guarantee you the numbers you want:
First, you want to be clear with customers what exactly the product or service you’re offering is. If customers can’t figure it out instantly, they won’t spend any time on it. You want to make it as concise and easy as possible to understand. This includes your branding being consistent on all marketing and promotional platforms, as well as your value proposition.
A value proposition is a tool designed to make you stand out from your competitors. Why should customers go to your business, as opposed to another one? If you can’t answer this question, take time
to brainstorm and figure it out – this will make targeting and clarity much easier when you are ready to market.
After you figure out what you want to promote and why it’s important, the next step is to determine where and how you will market. SWOT Analyses are perfect for this – this is a study done to see what your business’ strengths and weaknesses are, as well as what outside influences can have a positive or negative impact on you (SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats).
After doing a SWOT Analysis, you’ll want to take that information and turn it into a strategy. Take your strengths and use them to help you get more opportunities, as well as combat any threats. Find opportunities that can minimize your weaknesses. By having this roadmap, marketing will become a lot easier.
Lastly, you’ll want to take this strategic planning and see where it will work the best platform-wise. While a photographer may flourish on Instagram, financial advisors really won’t reap the benefits, and may perhaps do better offering quick market updates via Twitter. Consider what outlets of marketing are best for your product and service and focus on those, rather than trying to spread yourself thin by using everything.
Here comes the part that most small business owners dread – how much this will all cost. Don’t fear – as long as you determine a budget, a deadline, and a strategy, you can’t go wrong.
Firstly, you’ll need to do a profit-margin analysis, which is a strategy used to determine the financial health of your business.
Once this is done, take time to research your competitors and industry standards to see what the average amount spent is, and see if it’s realistic for you – if not, determine how you can reach this percentage, and plan accordingly.
This is where you can take all the research and analyzing you’ve done and start playing with it. Once you have your product/service detailed, your brand identity, your message, your SWOT analysis, and your budget determined, it’s time to take all of these components and put them to action. Common positioning strategies include:
• Attributes and benefits – highlighting the value of your product or service;
• Price – how the price of your product or service is competitive against the rest;
• Quality – giving your product or service a high-quality, even “luxurious” feel;
• Use and application – highlighting its main use or service and why it’s the best compared to similar products and services;
• Competitors – Pitting your consumers against the competitors and ensuring them that your product or service is the best out there.
Creating a marketing plan can be daunting, but once you’ve created it, you will be happy you did! Your business will feel much more streamlined, and you and your customers will much more easily understand what your business is offering, making it easier to obtain clients.
We can help you develop any section(s) of the marketing or develop a high caliber plan for you. We also offer Marketing Coaching Services to develop and train you or your staff. Feel free to contact us with any questions.