You don’t need no stinkin’ marketing plan! You don’t need a financial plan and you don’t need a business plan either. What good are plans? General Eisenhower once said, “In battle, plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Therefore, it’s the act of planning, and drawing up the plan that’s important because of all of the valuable insight, you gain from considering all of the options.
Why do you need a strategic marketing plan? Isn’t it possible for anybody with normal intelligence to market a business, product, or service? Why do you need a professional or somebody with experience to guide you? Why do you need a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant? Can’t you just do it on your own? Abraham Lincoln said, “A man who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client.”
Marketing is important to the success of every business. As a business owner, you must know your customer base, your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, and know where you fit in the marketplace. If you don’t know these factors, how long can you stay profitable? According to a study of entrepreneurship, as many as 50% of entrepreneurs and business owners didn’t have a business plan and marketing plan when they first started their business.
Do you need a strategic marketing plan? You only need a marketing plan if you want a roadmap for success. Like planning a cross-country road trip, a marketing plan outlines the route you will take, where you will stop for breakfast lunch and dinner, and where you want to spend the night. To put this in marketing terms, you set your goal, do your research, decide on your tactics, select your campaigns, and put your plan in motion. As you go along, through the year, you refer to your marketing plan and make adjustments as necessary.
It should be obvious that you need a marketing plan and you need to go through the experience of planning. Off the shelf marketing plans, have little value. While businesses generally have similar needs, every business has specific needs that the business must address. In order to have meaning and to make sense you must tie your marketing plan goals and objectives to your strategic plan.
What does a strategic marketing plan give you? It gives you guidance, it gives you direction, and it gives you the framework to promote your business. If you know your marketing plan, you can evaluate all promotional opportunities through the lens of your plan. If it make sense in light of the plan then you take advantage of the plan, otherwise you pass on the opportunity.
A strategic marketing plan does not exist in a vacuum. It is born of a company’s ambition, and its desire to grow and expand. Your marketing plan must take into account your company’s strategic goals and do its best to support those goals. The strategic marketing plan takes into account the constraints of the marketing budget, it contains the tactics your company will use to achieve its goals, and it provides the basis by which you will measure the effectiveness of those tactics. It also encompasses things like, pricing, products, and competitive strategy.
Do you need a marketing plan? You only need a marketing plan if you want to succeed in the most cost effective manner possible. In today’s business climate, most businesses cannot afford to waste money, make marketing mistakes or hit dead ends.
According to “Cojent Marketing Communications,” a strategic marketing plan will help you:
• Identify and clarify the objectives you want to achieve
• Help you focus your time, attention and your investment towards efficient business tactics
• Direct the development or improvement of your product or service offering
• Identify your target customers and potential customers
• Align your pricing with the market and your business reality
• Organize your distribution strategy to meet the needs of your customers
• Form the basis of your promotional, advertising, and communications activities.
If you have interest in developing a strategic marketing plan, but you don’t have the expertise to do it yourself, contact a marketing professional to assist you. I’m available to assist you in your marketing efforts. If you need a consultation or a complete strategic marketing plan, feel free to call or send an email to discuss your needs.
Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, PR, social media, and lead generation strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and startup companies find their voice in an ever increasingly crowded market by doing more with less($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the website www.fracicaenterprises.com.