Why do I need a marketing plan?
Marketing planning helps you develop products and services in your business that meet the needs of your target market. Good marketing helps your customers understand why your product or service is better than, or different from, the competition.
A good marketing plan can help you reach your target audience, boost your customer base, and ultimately, increase your bottom line. It's often required when seeking funding and helps you set clear, realistic and measurable objectives for your business.
Developing a marketing plan requires research, time and commitment, but is a very valuable process that can greatly contribute to your business success.
Marketing is for all business - big or small
Without customers, your business would not survive. To attract and retain customers, your business needs to understand the value of marketing. People are unlikely to simply walk into your business and buy something from you if they don't know who you are, what you are selling and why they should choose you over the competition.
Many smaller businesses don't place enough importance on marketing. They often see it as something that requires a lot of money and fancy advertising campaigns. However, marketing is about much more than advertising and sales.
Marketing helps you to find out what makes your business unique
Building your brand is a crucial part of building your business. Questions you need to consider to build the foundation of both your business and brand include:
- What are the needs of your target customers?
- How do your competitors meet the needs of your target customers?
- How can you help your target customers understand why your product or service is better than, or different from, the competition?
You've probably already considered some of these questions when preparing your business plan, but many businesses don't realise that these questions are also marketing fundamentals. So if you've already addressed these critical points, you've made the first steps in building a successful business and brand!
A marketing plan is a strategic document
One of the greatest benefits of developing a marketing plan is that it helps you to focus your resources and plan for your business growth.
The planning process helps you to understand the different factors that may affect your success. Instead of worrying about the future, you can actually have a sense of control over your business and livelihood.
Writing and researching for your marketing plan gives you the chance to:
- identify your target market and understand how your product or service meets their needs
- identify your competitors and what your target customers think about your competitors' strengths and weaknesses
- position your brand, products and services so that your target market sees your business as better than, or different from, the competition
- set specific, measurable goals and timeframes for your marketing activities
- map out a strategy to reach your target audience, including the messages, channels and tools you will use.
A marketing plan gives you control of your business
Marketing planning helps the day-to-day running of your business. When you develop your plan, you'll set targets and milestones which help you to:
- allocate resources and budget
- motivate your team
- manage performance of your staff members and marketing efforts.
It's important to have a marketing plan, but it's just as important to keep it up to date
A marketing plan is not a document you create once and store in your bottom drawer. It's a living guide that you should develop as your business grows and changes.
Set yourself a reminder to review your marketing plan regularly.
You don't have to start with a blank sheet of paper
To write an effective marketing plan you'll need discipline, time and focus. The process can seem challenging, but it's also rewarding, creative and even fun!
Our Marketing plan template and guide gives you a clear process to follow as you develop your marketing plan. It helps you identify who your customers are, how you'll meet their needs and how you'll differentiate yourself from the competition.