As an entrepreneur, you just want to go, jump in and start selling your products and services.
I can totally relate. You are confident, excited and convinced that your product or service is the next big thing. And, so you get busy. You’re busy doing the daily tasks and administrative work in addition to selling and serving your clients.
While you’re going along with your day, your spidey senses are tingling, telling you that you are probably missing a large chunk of potential sales. And, that’s where taking the time to plan out your market, developing a marketing plan would help your company grow.
I’m not talking about the traditional 5-year marketing plan that took months to develop. Today’s marketing plans are nimble documents that are regularly updated. Let’s look closer at the five important reasons why taking the time to create a marketing plan is important:
1. The Power of Writing Down Your Goals and Objectives
A study conducted by the Dominican University, California did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. The study revealed that 42 percent were more likely to achieve their goals just by writing them down. Successful bloggers also write down their goals as well as their yearly content marketing objectives.
Once you have written goals and objectives, you need to ask yourself this question, “How will I get there?” As a result, this will force you to create an actionable marketing plan, expand on how to execute these goals and develop a clear sense of direction.
2. Taking The Time to Plan Out Your Strategy
The lesson here is an essential competitive strategy decision-making factor is – not so fast. Don’t be so quick to decide on which direction your company show take, take your time and don’t be so sure you know what you’re doing, even if you are a 30-year veteran in the industry. You are still a new entrepreneur.
Planning out your marketing strategy will make you see the BIG PICTURE and how it all comes together with this goal and that objective?
3. Competitive Insight
Don’t let this fall behind. In fact, competitive insight should be conducted monthly.
Keeping pace, knowing and understanding your competition will help your brand positioning, create better promotional programs and develop content that is more engaging with your prospective and current customers.
Of course, when the competition is undergoing a significant change or creating an innovative product, this group stays quite, but with weekly reporting, attending trade shows, listening to your salespeople and clients you can reduce the impact of any important industry and competition changes. You’ll be less reactive. However, most people don’t understand how to use competitive insight. You’ll probably create a list of product features and then develop a sales pitch on what makes your product better. Instead, use the competitive insight for Change, Understand, Predict, and Plan (CUPP®) and not as an information search-and-distribute function.
4. Know Your Marketing Tactics
Quite simply, there are just too many companies “doing” for the sake of doing but not fully understanding what’s involved in making a marketing tactic successful or even useful. It’s there, it’s popular, everyone is writing about it and claiming success, so will I do it too.
But, is it?
If you own a wellness spa company, do you have enough content and manpower to start-up a monthly newsletter? What about the cosmetic manufacturer, do you understand what’s involved in purchasing a list? Should you even buy a list? Or, the most popular one, “we need to go to that trade show” and the only preplanning they do is fill out the forms. Investing in the wrong marketing tactics or not understanding how a tactic works are costly mistakes, financially as well as in your brand reputation.
5. Historical Review
As your fiscal year approaches, you have the excellent opportunity to review what you have accomplished and what didn’t work out because you took the time to write down your marketing plan. By creating your marketing plan at the same time as your fiscal year, it creates a good habit as well as allows you the time to clean out time wasters, crystalize your brand vision and stay focused on what needs to happen in the following year for your company to grow and be profitable.
It is also critical to review your goals frequently so you can course correct them as you move on. If you are a solo-entrepreneur or work as part of a team in health and wellness, a strong review process will help you stay on track with your big picture goals while you dive deep into implementing the tactics on a day-to-day basis.
[Updated: July 2016]