Marketing has changed a lot in recent times. As technology has forged ahead in leaps and bounds and campaigns have become more fluid and responsive with more elements becoming automated, it’s easy to get carried away to the point where a marketing plan can be seen as somewhat redundant.
Sure, it’s an easy trap to fall into.
Ok. Firstly, let’s step back for a second and look at what marketing is and does.
Over the years, I’ve heard so many different terms and phrases that attempt to sum this up, and they’ve ranged from the inspiring to the downright ridiculous.
However, one that I particularly like is that the aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service sells itself.
It’s fair to say that there is a little more to it than that, but I agree with the preface.
So, how do you guide your marketing activities to ensure that they best align with and build on this understanding?
The answer is a marketing plan.
A marketing plan is a guide to successfully promoting and growing a business. A good marketing plan will help you answer key questions about your business, including
- How will you position your business in the market?
- How will you differentiate from your competitors?
- How will you reach your customers?
- What are your sales goals?
- Where and how will you advertise?
All of these are important questions that as a business owner, manager or budding entrepreneur, you need to be able to answer.
Beyond that, however, a good marketing plan can help you to ensure that you are using your resources most effectively. This is especially important if you develop an online marketing plan, which I always recommend. Rather than just jumping into social media or starting a blog, an online marketing plan helps you to align your online activities with your business goals. And in the end, isn’t that what you want?
Perhaps the biggest benefit of preparing a marketing plan, though, isn’t just the finished plan.
Through the planning process, you will also have engaged in a valuable process of thinking through important questions related to your business objectively, which will serve you well as you encounter the daily challenges of running a business.
So, when you think about it, a solid marketing plan is still as relevant now as it’s always been.
Author: Cameron McIver