September 27, 2022 Andy Driver

For businesses in any sector, it’s tempting to believe that creativity will prevail and that a marketing plan is somehow unnecessary. Sadly, this is a wrong assertion.

Fail to plan – plan to fail

There are very few areas of our personal lives that we conduct without a plan. For example, major household purchases, home improvements and holidays normally require some clear thought and a plan to help execute them. This might simply be a series of actions and checklists, but it is at least a structured approach, rather than hoping for the best.

In a creative business, it’s possible to “wing it” and rely on your wits, but it’s not a sustainable method, and few successful businesses are built on this philosophy. In real terms, to make a success of your business, it’s vital that you have a marketing plan tailored to your business model.

Understand your target customers

Just as your business plan lays out your commercial direction, and the activities that are required to achieve your objectives, your marketing plan should include all of the activities that you will consider and implement to reach your target customers through the appropriate channels.

The timeline for your marketing plan is the next one to three years, with a detailed view for the first year and a broader view for the subsequent two years. Testing and learning are vital for any marketing activity, so give your plan structure and certainty, and enough flexibility to accommodate learning.

With your marketing plan as a roadmap of what you aim to achieve, it’s important to consider in full the marketing activities you aim to complete.

A marketing plan needs clear thinking, not a brainwave

Developing and writing a marketing plan makes it more real, more significant, and more likely to be completed.

If you adopt the position that your marketing plan is in your head, it becomes easy to mould the results you achieve to suit your circumstances.  A documented plan provides less ambiguity and fewer excuses.

The focus provided by a marketing plan is a useful ally. By documenting what you plan to achieve, and how, your marketing plan will help to keep you clearly focused. Without a clear plan, there is the risk that you will continue with unsustainable activities and waste valuable cashflow.

Plan, measure, improve

By measuring specific marketing outcomes, versus what you planned to achieve, you can understand what went well and what did not go well with the execution of your marketing plan, so that you can learn and improve your approach from your marketing efforts and budget.

The most important thing to remember when developing both your business plan and your marketing plan is your target customer/s. You need to have a clear view of who your product or service is aimed at. This will help you to determine how you will reach them and how best to communicate with them.

So, just who are your customers. Do you really know?

Your complete understanding of your target customer/s will be based on a combination of market data and objective evidence; some will be based on intuition; some will be based on speculation or gut feel.

What’s imperative is that each stage of your marketing plan has your customers at its heart. It’s also vital that you construct a clear set of activities which illustrate how you aim to reach each section of your target audience.

Now that you have a good understanding of the value of a marketing plan, read our blog on ‘What should be in a Marketing Plan?


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