A vision without a strategy remains an illusion- Lee Bolman
Marketing is a strategic endeavour for any business. It is a crucial part of a business’ survival and as such, should be treated as the life-blood of a business. Businesses survive if there are sales coming in, without sales there is no revenue and without revenue there are no profits. But people cannot buy from a business if they do not know about it, and herein comes marketing. Marketing is more than communicating and educating prospects about your product or service, it is “the missing link between the strategic direction of the business and the delivery of results”. In the business plan, it details to prospective funders or investors what strategies you will implement to attract new customers which will in turn lead to increased sales and profitability. A marketing strategy is the directional vision for increasing sales, and the marketing plan serves as the practical tactics one implements to achieve the marketing goal.
A business can achieve success without a marketing plan however, this success may take a long time and is not guaranteed. The question a business owner needs to ask themselves is this: do I want to risk my success or do I want to guarantee my success? If you want guaranteed success, a marketing plan can go a long way in helping you achieve and sustain business success.
Here are 3 tips we can provide to help you to create an effective marketing plan:
1. Research your market
Who are you targeting and why? An effective marketing plan needs to be based on market research which pin-points your target market. Market research will give you accurate results about who your ideal client is and this information will lead to you creating an accurate marketing plan which will guarantee you results.
2. Identify your goals
Create a list of your business market goals and work backwards. For example, if you have a goal to increase the number of followers you have on Instagram by 100 followers within the next 3 weeks, you would plan the detailed steps you need take to execute that goal. Firstly, you would write down the number of current followers your account has. Secondly, you’d need to work out who your top 3 competitors are, see who is following their accounts and make a list of the followers who engage with your competitors’ content the most. Finally, you would invite them to follow you. This plan can be one of the methods you use to attract new followers. It is detailed, clear and concise and will yield results. Having SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound) goals will help you to craft a marketing plan that is more specific, detailed and likely to succeed.
3. Plan according to a budget
A marketing plan should follow a marketing budget. When a business invests money into marketing and does not use a marketing plan, they have no way of accounting for over-expenditure. A marketing plan provides a test-and-measure for the marketing budget, it allows businesses to assess which marketing strategies yield the greatest return on investment. The marketing plan therefore provides a clear picture of how the marketing strategy should be amended to ensure accurate budget allocation and realistic growth targets for the business.
“A vision without a strategy remains an illusion”.
Great businesses are built intentionally, and intention needs details, results and strategies that work. When it comes to marketing, which is one of the core functions of a business, business owners need to implement marketing strategies that work and for that to happen; they need a marketing plan.