Congratulations! If you are reading this, you've made it to the 4th quarter of this crazy year.
Being the 4th quarter means it's now time to start thinking about next year, and
if there are secret sauces to business success - market planning is one of them.
But let's face it, marketing planning isn't secret -- it’s just difficult for many business owners (and even marketing teams) to take the time to develop one. A recent survey done by Search Engine Journal found that only about 50% of small businesses with fewer than 50 employees have a marketing plan developed. If you're part of the 50% who hasn't done a market plan - or maybe have one but it is a couple years old - here are 4 things to consider.
4 important reasons why you should develop a marketing plan:
1. It helps you think through your business strategy and align your marketing efforts with your goals and values. You then can formulate marketing objectives that help you, or your organization achieve its mission.
The planning process helps ground your goals in reality. Your goal may be to be leader in your area of expertise, increase profitability, or have a well-compensated and loyal employee base. Or perhaps you want to be able to give support to your local community. Whatever your objectives are, the planning process will help you see if they are feasible, considering your situation.
2. It helps you focus. There are many marketing tools and opportunities -- it’s easy to become distracted and lose sight of your intended business goals. Having a plan acts as a compass - it will help you clearly see where you want to go and assure you that you are heading in a direction aligned with your goals and core values.
For example -- you may have some great new ideas for your business that you’d like to try and including them in your marketing plan will help you determine how feasible they are. If they are in the plan, they won’t be forgotten or thrown in as an afterthought.
3. It helps you establish tasks, timelines, and milestones. A good marketing plan includes clearly defined objectives and tactics; outlining these makes it easier to identify the tasks that need to be done, who should do them, and when they need to be done by. This will help you get the most out of promotions and seasonal or local events.
4. It will help you see if you need financing. Once you know what you need to do, especially marketing-wise, you can identify areas in which you’ll require financial assistance. Having a well thought out marketing plan shows that you mean business (pun intended)!
So set aside some time to create a sound marketing plan for your business – you’ll be glad you did.
If you need help getting started or developing your market planning, please contact us to bounce around ideas or join our email list.
Our next blog will focus on the important aspects of an effective marketing plan - watch for it!
Thanks for reading :)
I recently tried out LinkedIn’s polling function, using a hastily written survey. The first hurdle encountered was the character limit on the answer options, and when I condensed the answers they were not as well balanced as the original ones.
Learning #1: Plan for short responses
As this was just an experiment to try out the polling feature, I forged on ahead to see what would happen. The first 5 responses came in the first few minutes. After that, it slowed, so I added a comment and sent a note out to a few connections to stimulate interest. Even then, after a week the poll only had 20 votes out of 431 views, a 4.6% response rate.
Learning #2: Expect a low response rate
Since no one chose the “Something else” option, if I were to do this again, I’d use five balanced answers with a neutral one in the center. I also learned that the poll was only seen by first degree connections, so might not be a representative sample of the LinkedIn population.
But despite the flaws, the poll did seem to indicate a trend (20% option 2 vs. 80% option 3), which is in line with the advice from leading marketing blogs -- for brands to emphasize messaging that shows support for their customers and the community during the current crisis.
Learning #3 Though visibility on LinkedIn is important to your personal (and company) brand, not all exposure is positive. It’s a good idea to think about your target audience’s perceptions before you click that post button.
Thanks for reading!
Do you agree? Disagree? Have an additional thought?
Please post in the comments.
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Marketing Tips is dedicated to providing busy professionals and local businesses with information on marketing trends, strategy and tactics in a way that is both accurate and easy to read.