Marketing Focus – Why is it beneficial to create a marketing plan?
This is true for almost all areas of business, as a good plan gives you focus, direction and a calm determination to tackle things in the correct order at the right time. I am a great lover of lists, so every day I like to make a new one, but behind all the lists is a solid plan which can be referred to, checked and modified as things change and we move forward.
However, I know not everyone does like to plan and do reports and lists, and I also know that when you’re busy it’s tough to be able to find the time, or be motivated enough to make time to put a plan in place. None the less, the busier we are, the more important it is to plan, as having this behind us stops the panic and the chaos and gives you a clear path to follow, making you more effective and efficient. It is also important for any team members you may have, as it enables them to make sure they are following the right lines and working towards the same objective.
Marketing plans are hugely important for any company spending money on promoting themselves, but sadly very under-used. Most companies we deal with and meet respond to marketing needs in a knee-jerk way, panicking when they don’t have enough business coming in, throwing money at the problem in the short term. This is often expensive and ineffective, as it does not really meet the company’s objectives and because it’s rushed, the materials, offer and response are often not as good as they should be.
Having a strong marketing plan avoids this, as it sets clear and achievable objectives, forces you to analyze important things about your company such as strengths and weaknesses and requires you to look at what you are currently doing. This analytical approach to your company objectives and vision is really beneficial, especially when done with a team as you can discover some surprising inconsistencies of mission and belief which may have been working against you within the company. It is also a great way to bring staff members into the loop and get them to understand the thinking behind some management decisions which they may have resisted in the past. It can also take you down a new path and push you towards improving materials which you haven’t looked at for a long time, but may be letting you down.
Once you have thought closely about your company, product, target market and of course those all important objectives for marketing, a plan then makes you start looking in detail about your next steps. It asks you what marketing methods you want to use to achieve your objectives, how much budget can you allocate and how will you evaluate your campaign to make sure it’s working for you and your budget is being spent wisely. Finally you need to make a practical plan of actions for the near future, we would suggest 3-6 months maximum, otherwise it is difficult to predict outcomes and plan in enough detail to make it a useful guide for your activities. If you have a team, allocate the actions within the plan to different team members and make sure there are deadlines for completing tasks so you stay on track.
This is not a static document, so revisit your plan at least once a month to check progress, but also to update actions and tick off things which have been achieved to give you a sense of satisfaction and achievement. Once the campaign is over, use this document as the basis for evaluation of the campaign and feedback to all parties involved. If you will then continue with another campaign, or extend your existing one, then feed your evaluation into the plan, make the necessary changes and then keep on going!!
On Tuesday 4th November, Shaw Marketing Services will be holding a marketing planning seminar and workshop at Andalucia Lab, going into detail about the different fields of a marketing plan, what they mean and how to complete them. We will then have a very practical workshop session when all delegates will be completing a marketing plan template guided by Georgina Shaw, so that they have a plan to start working to by the end of the day. The seminar costs 75€ per person plus IVA and registrations are required by 31st October. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place.