If you’re an entrepreneur or marketing professional, are you currently working from a clearly defined marketing plan that plugs into your business strategy? If not, you’re not alone.
While you can obviously operate without one, and nearly 50% of businesses do, it becomes increasingly more difficult to run an efficient business when you’re unable to see the bigger picture clearly and forced to be reactionary.
Nearly 50% of small businesses aren't working from a marketing plan and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 50% of small businesses don't make it to their fifth anniversary.
Building a marketing plan involves an understanding of the individual business, so it’s natural to think the best person for the job would be the business owner. However, it can often be challenging for a business owner to “see the forest through the trees” and know where to focus. You can spin your wheels for months trying to do it by yourself, but you don’t have to.
Working with a marketing expert will save you time and money and help you build your customer base and the experience you’re able to deliver.
Let’s explore ten benefits to creating – and following – an annual marketing /
It forces you to think. The act of physically creating a marketing plan is an exercise that will change the way you think about your business. It helps you articulate your audience and offerings, and how you bring those two things together.
It aligns marketing with business strategy. Your business strategy and marketing strategy should be a partnership if you want your business to reach its highest potential. The start of every great marketing plan should be clearly defined business goals to influence everything that comes next.
It helps you create measurable goals. Because a marketing strategy requires you to align communication goals to your business goals, this process will help you create more tangible targets and increase performance as you hit those milestones.
It helps you organize your time and priorities. Our time is valuable and should be treated that way. There are so many directions to take when it comes to marketing your business that it can become a complete time suck if you don't have a thoughtful strategy. You should be able to pick up your plan and know exactly how to spend the hours you've allocated to marketing your business.
It helps you be proactive rather than reactive. A bonus for small businesses or a small marketing team is that you can be flexible and shift quickly depending on the business need. But what about the quality of the end product? Being able to see what's coming up next allows you to be better prepared, less frantic, and improve outcomes.
It provides new insight and gives you clarity. Going through the process should be a positive experience that helps you look at where you are now and where you want to be in a year. It should be able to serve as your roadmap and give you a fresh look at everything ahead.
It provides a better customer experience. A marketing plan helps you define your customer profiles or personas, and what their experience should look and feel like. Without a vision for that desired experience, how will you know what you're trying to deliver? This is also great if you have a team that supports you. Articulating a goal for the customer experience equips the team with clear parameters for how they should conduct business.
It gives you the framework to produce relevant, valuable content. Creating content is a must nowadays. If you're not producing it, your competitors are and you're missing an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise. Make it easier on yourself with a simple framework that can translate into a formal content calendar.
A plan makes everything more digestible. There are so many moving pieces to running a successful business, but marketing doesn't have to feel unmanageable. By starting with a marketing plan, you take the guesswork out of what needs to be done each week, month, and quarter.
It will be difficult to grow your business without one. Let's do a little math using the statistics from earlier in the article. Nearly 50% of small businesses aren't working from a marketing plan and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 50% of small businesses don't make it to their fifth anniversary. There are so many things we can do for our businesses to set ourselves up for success, why would we ignore one of the most important ones?