In the immortal words of the American Statesman, Colin Powell, “There is no secret to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure”.
Small businesses more than any need to have a business plan, and need to be able to plan ahead; unlike larger well established industry leaders they are not as well insulated to the fickle nature of markets. One of the most important considerations is marketing. Bad marketing can break a company and ensure it never gets past the first stage whilst good marketing can hitch your business to a rocket heading to the top.
How do you effectively use the many marketing strategies out there to maximize the positive exposure you need to develop and grow your business? The short answer is through planning, and the long answer is through marketing planning.
Why Should a Small Business Have a Marketing Plan?
Like I said above, marketing can lead to business boom or bust. Here I’ve outlines the top 5 reasons you should defiantly consider starting market planning:
Although marketing doesn’t need to be expensive, often a large majority of a company’s expenditure will go on adverting and brand management. As such, a marketing plan can give you an idea of how much you will need to successfully market your business.
As with a business plan, a marketing plan can help you keep focus on how you plan on developing your business and your brand
3. Deadlines and Timelines
It’s important to include how long you expect to continue marketing strategies and help keep track of what projects you currently have. How long will you fund that billboard on route 12? Do you even still remember you’re paying for that?
2. Outline and Direction
As with a business plan, a marketing plan can help give direction to the development of your marketing strategies and help you understand how to keep them dynamic and able to change as situations change.
1. Investment Attraction
Having a marketing plan alongside your business plan will help to reassure potential investors of how well organized and on top of everything you are and how their investment will be used wisely and should result in a return.
What Should a Market Plan Include?
A marketing plan needs to be carefully considered. It should consider and be based on three main ideals or principles.
Firstly, the plan should direct marketing personnel. It should be comprehensive and outline just what strategies will be used, for how long and to what end. Having an idea of this outline will help them build upon and adapt your thoughts into the most effective iteration it can be.
In this way you should have a marketing department that is not only efficient but also understands what you want from them. For a small business, this task can be outsourced to an appropriately trained freelancer – the premise either way is the same.
Secondly, it can outline future goals you wish your marketing strategy to achieve and like all plans can seriously contribute to adding direction to development when your business starts to expand.
Lastly, a marketing plan should include initiatives for funding. Attraction of investors is a good start, but you need to understand exactly what certain marketing measures will do for your company and whether they are worth it. What has a better cost to benefit ratio between a radio advert and a TV advert?
How Researched Should the Marketing Plan be?
As I’ve hinted at above – very extensively. It’s no good having a plan and strategies but having no idea how they’ll work out both in the short term and the long run. Keep in mind the idea of marketing strategies and the cost to benefit ratio. Consider what your market research says about certain ideas as well as how these work together for a greater marketing and brand presence.