Most smaller businesses want to ignore marketing or treat it as a lesser step. Maybe because they believe it requires too much money, etc… Marketing is so much more than an advertising and making sales. A marketing plan may include marketing objectives, strategies, brand positioning, messaging and public relations activities. Having a marketing plan is a crucial step for any business. New or old, small or large. Good marketing can help differentiate what makes your business better than the rest.

Better Control Over Your Business

Planning can help you to understand what may affect your success. Having a plan can eliminate the stress of the future and give you a sense of control over your business and where it’s headed. As Antonie de Saint- Exupéry said: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

A Marketing Plan Can Help You To:

• Identify your target audience and get a feel for how your product meets their needs
• Identify your competitors and what your target audience think or notice about their strengths and weaknesses.
• Create a way to establish your brand as better or different from the competition.
• Set goals that are precise and measurable for your marketing.
• Map out a strategic approach to reach your target market.

A marketing plan can also help you in the day-to-day of running your business by setting milestones which can help to motivate your employees, set your resources and budget, and manage the performance of your team and your efforts in marketing.

Your Brand, and Your Target Market

A consumer isn’t likely to waltz into any old store and purchase without having an idea of what the store is selling. A marketing plan can help you show the consumer precisely who you are and why they should choose you over the competition. This can allow you to develop and evolve your brand to better convey and spread that message.

Having a marketing plan can help you identify the products and services that meet the needs of your target audience or market, and ways to reach that market. When developing a marketing plan, it’s best to think of these central questions:

• What are the needs of my target market?
• How do my competitors meet these needs?
• How can I get my target market to see why my product/service is better than the competition? What makes us different?

A Marketing Plan Is Crucial For Financing!

A business plan is a must if you want to obtain financing, and having a marketing plan, in addition, will help instill confidence in your lender that your business will succeed. In other words, it’ll show that you mean business (pun intended)!

Keep It Updated!

Your marketing plan is a document that can follow you through each milestone of your business, which is why it’s important to keep it up to date. It’s best to grow your plan with your business, and review that plan on a regular basis. This plan is here to help you stay organized, and staying organized is a significant step in keeping a business running smoothly! With a plan, you are more likely to be realistic with your time and goals; thus, your marketing is more than likely to be done if you plan when, what, and how you’re going to do. If you determine how to apply your ideas and assign a date to them, you can work backward from your deadline. Examine your ideas to see if they can be implemented to achieve more than just one goal. By plotting your marketing strategies ahead of time your efforts are more likely to pay off.