So many people think they can ‘do’ marketing, and do you know what? They are probably right. Passion, knowledge and determination can help you achieve almost anything in life. But it’s much easier if you have a plan..
The art of not having a plan is a useful one to master, but winging it – just doing something because it feels right – is only a good approach in a crisis. When there are no other options and the situation truly calls for it.
Marketing and business planning is rarely a crisis, even if it feels like one.
A good plan costs money. It costs time. It costs effort. A plan can reveal some uncomfortable truths.
That’s why so much marketing is done without firm foundations, without an understanding of the audience and their needs. I chose the name of our company – Underpin Marketing – because planning is a core part of what we do, and it sets the tone and direction of everything from branding exercises to social media posts.
An effective marketing plan begins with understanding your audience. You may already have a good idea of who they are and why they would want to do business with you, but creating a plan is an opportunity to dig into this further.
It is also an opportunity to save yourself some money. When we go into consultation meetings with our prospective customers the biggest objection we get is that there isn’t any budget for focus planning or strategic reports.
Our response is that we create the budget for them by reducing long-term costs, because everything becomes more effective. No business, including yours, wants an expensive marketing plan. You want an effective marketing plan.
Besides, the notion of ‘expensive’ is subjective, determined by the person spending the money. A £1 million marketing plan is very expensive to a small business if it produces no leads. But what if it helps generate ten times that amount in new business revenue?
A solid plan prevents duplication, marketing that doesn’t resonate with your customers, and time spent on tactics that deliver little return.
Instead of focusing on expensive, focus on effective: a plan that has a plan. Before you create a website, leaflets, brochures, or anything else, you need to think about your customers, who they are, what they need from you and the best ways to communicate your message to them.
Answering these questions will allow you to begin your branding and marketing work and set the tone for your content.