15 reasons why a marketing plan is vital to your business

Why a marketing strategy and plan is actually more important than your marketing itself.
Author: Eric Allgood CMgr CAHRI MAITD

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re marketing, more importantly WHY you’re marketing it?
Most will answer, of course I have, mainly due to pride and partly due to the fact, you may actually truly believe you have. So, let’s test this with some simple questions:

  • Who is your target market? Do you know:
    • Their age,
    • Approximate income levels and disposable cash levels,
    • Relationship status,
    • Leisure time activities,
    • Education levels,
    • Stand on climate change (or any other issue!),
    • Own or rent their home,
    • Type of car they drive, or
    • Anything else about them as a person?

Why is this important? Well aren’t you trying to create a relationship with them, so surely you should take an interest in them and know a bit about them.

  • Where are they geographically, and is this important?
  • What problems do they face in their day to day life?
  • Where is the best place to find them?

Now here is where the fights normally start, you see not everything should be sold on social media, or online for that matter. I have assisted companies that trade in areas that have some secrecy behind their product or service, or whose products aren’t openly available to the general public or standard B2B sales. So, the ‘socials’ may not be suitable.

Next let’s look at where your target market sits in their purchasing states. There are six buyer readiness states and you need to know which one you’re targeting:

  1. Awareness
  2. Knowledge
  3. Liking
  4. Preference
  5. Conviction
  6. Purchase

Now, have you decided which approach you will be taking are you aiming for a product-focused campaign or are you looking at a customer-centric campaign or somewhere else within the spectrum?

How are you going to communicate this approach?

  • Straight sell/factual message
  • Scientific/technical evidence
  • Demonstration
  • Comparison
  • Testimonial
  • Slice of life
  • Animation
  • Imagery
  • Personality symbol
  • Dramatisation
  • Humour
  • Lifestyle
  • Mood
  • Musical
  • Culture or tradition
  • Surrogate
  • Social
  • Fear/scarcity
  • Combination of these

How are you going to consider the cognitive, affective and conative elements of your campaign? Which actually brings attention to the fact that we haven’t even touched upon what is the Brand image you want to portray, that is how do you want people to see your brand and to identify with it?
Without taking into account these considerations and creating both a marketing plan and an integrated marketing communication plan, consistency is something you will lack in your marketing and therefore the results.

Without consistency, do you really know what you are measuring, if you don’t understand your target market properly how do you even know if you are speaking their language? There is an age old saying that perfect planning prevents poor performance (cleaned the version I learned up for this article!).

A marketing plan determines how you will sell your products/services to your marketplace; indeed, it will even define what your marketplace is and identify opportunities and threats to that marketplace. The integrate marketing communication plan is vital as it takes your marketing plan and gives you the drivers to communicate to your graphic designers, developers, social media gurus and so forth. What many forget though, is it is also extremely useful in communicating to your staff, meaning the story being told is consistent in every manner in which it is being communicated!

Only after you have completed this can you truly investigate your marketing mix (a topic for another day!)

So why is a marketing plan so important:

  1. It gets you strategising
  2. It formalises ideas
  3. You start working to timescales
  4. You budget better
  5. It helps you align closely with the business strategy
  6. It creates a sustainable and consistent brand
  7. It helps predict potential future uncertainties
  8. It helps set manageable and measurable KPI’s (goals)
  9. It coordinates your communication internally and externally
  10. It forces you to reflect on the future in a systemic way
  11. Because it provides a framework for continuous review it creates attention on market growth, not market maintenance
  12. Planning mitigates risk of failure
  13. Creates an edge over your competitors
  14. You become proactive, not reactive
  15. Maybe a repeat of number one, but it gets you to think!

So many of our clients get much better results from their marketing teams from the plans we help them create, they wonder why they’ve never done it before and, frankly, so do we!

Please note: Small Business Assistance and Advisory Service does not provide the ‘below the line marketing services, such as social media management, web design, graphic design and so forth. We are happy to recommend those who do, or we can manage the process for you. Our goal is to teach you how to do things, so you can do it yourself from then on and save both time and money! If you want to know more then contact us.