They say planning is half the fun, but that isn't always the case when it comes to planning business related items. You already know how to send email campaigns, you're a decent writer, you know your budget, and you are proficient in social media management...do you really need a marketing plan? Let's just say, it's pretty easy to tell if a company is operating without one.
When is the last time your business took the time to formulate a business plan, marketing plan, or a strategic plan? Poor planning can lead to poor outcomes, but perhaps what is even worse can be the period of time where your business is operating without a plan. Documents like these should guide the work of employees at all levels, but without them chaos can ensue fairly quickly. Not only that, your brand can suffer.
Typically, I find when it comes to the avoidance of business planning, it is not so much that leaders are afraid to dream about the company's future but rather that they simply delay the formalization of their ideas into a plan for fear of feeling trapped or limited. Leaders fear they might miss something when putting planning documents together and that doing so might lead them down the wrong path. The reality is actually just the opposite. Not having a plan is destructive for the company's stability, growth, employee morale, and brand trust. Literally any plan would likely result in better outcomes than not having a plan. Not having a plan is a plan of destruction.
So all that to say...
Don't be afraid to formalize your dreams.
A marketing plan is a living breathing document, and we can edit, adjust, and amend as needed. The purpose of the plan is to ensure everyone at your company is speaking the same corporate language with intention; an added benefit is that it just might lower your cholesterol levels.
It is fairly easy to spot a company without a marketing plan. In fact, you might not even need to walk into their office. A telling sign of chaotic marketing can be found buried in an obscure "social media marketing" job description that is pages long and is clearly not grounded in reality. Another key indicator would be to have a brief coffee with a marketing manager and gauge their stress levels.
Having a marketing plan doesn't just benefit employees with marketing titles however. If you are serving as CEO, President, COO, CFO, a board member, or any other position of influence at any institution...you will know the pain points associated with not having a proper marketing plan.
A CEO might ask, "Why aren't people buying our product?" Well...which people? Have you done a competitive analysis to find out exactly who your target market is? If not, then where is all that money in your marketing budget being spent? A CFO of a non-profit might ask, "Why are donations down?" Well...with who? What is your company doing to get your cause in front of the right people with shared values and passions for your mission?
The list goes on and on, but the point here is that if you are stressed to the max about your company's web presence, image, brand trust, financials, etc. then all roads likely lead back to an absence of business strategy documents...including a marketing plan. Having a business plan is a great start, but it is not enough.
You'll thank me later when you find that your corporate goals are aligned with those of your marketing team and that you are all working together on the same page.
Thursday, April 15, 2021