By Bobette Kyle
Imagine your perfect customers — the ones that will eagerly buy your products or hire you for premium pay. Imagine being able to bring those perfect customers to you and having them buy your products or services not once, but again and again. That’s what an effectively executed marketing plan does. It reaches the people who want what you are offering, convinces them to take action, and keeps them coming back.
Sounds nice, right? So why doesn’t every business have a marketing plan? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you may not:
1. “We had a marketing plan once, but it didn’t work. It isn’t worth the time to put one together.”
No marketing plan will work if you do not work the plan. The planning document is there for business managers to use as a strategic reference throughout the year, as programs in the plan are executed and as other opportunities come along. Any marketing plan that is filed away and forgotten as soon as it’s written is useless.
2. “So-and-so had a marketing plan and it didn’t help his business at all!”
Marketing is a process, not a singular event. A marketing plan is only the first step in that process. It points your business in the right direction by detailing marketing strategies and programs that will move you toward business objectives.
You must execute the programs in your plan so that you can evaluate program success. Rarely does a marketing program work best on the first try. It is up to you to analyze barriers to success, then tweak and tinker until you are getting positive results. If you ignore critical follow-up, most of your marketing programs — whether you have a marketing plan or not — will fail or fall short of their potential for success.
3. “Marketing planning is too hard.”
Writing a marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated. There are different levels of planning. More intricate marketing planning processes will result in more refined strategies, with better potential for success. But, if you have limited resources, a top-line approach to planning is much better than none at all.
4. “We don’t know how to write a marketing plan.”
There are numerous books, software, “toolbox” resources, and articles that take you step-by-step through the process of creating a marketing plan. Frankly, not knowing how is an excuse, not a reason, to avoid marketing planning.
5. “My business is too small for a marketing plan.”
Sound marketing strategy is critical to small business success, especially new businesses. Statistics vary widely depending on the source, but most reports cite failure rates for small business at 65% — 90%. Knowing ahead of time how you will compete and how you will succeed in your marketplace can dramatically increase your chances of success.
Your marketing plan is a vital key to small business success. If you do not have a current plan, start one today. Your company’s livelihood depends on it.
Bobette Kyle has been proprietor at http://www.WebSiteMarketingPlan.com since 2002. For tips on how to make the marketing plan process go smoothly, visit http://www.MarketingPlanArticles.com and read “Tips to Help Calm ‘Marketing Plan Panic.'”