By Mark Ellis July 20, 2016
If your business came from humble beginnings or has gone through troubled times that are forever on your mind, the feeling that its history is likely to impede your chances of making things a success is entirely understandable.
In reality, the history of your business simply isn’t that important. Sure, pedigree and proof that you’ve ‘been there, done it’ is a nice thing to say to prospective customers, but few will use those things as the sole reason for choosing your product or service.
What’s more, the history of your company won’t help you find or lose customers; it just doesn’t have a bearing. Just as a fabulous whisky may have matured in the most unlikely of places, the origins of your business are irrelevant.
What matters? A solid marketing plan. Here’s why.
1. It helps you strategize
Marketing plans, by their very nature, are strategic. They force the author to think ahead and consider the effects of promotional activity on both sales and the public image of the company. Big ideas fail without a plan, and your marketing plan is the one thing that will drive innovation and help you meet sales targets.
2. It helps you formalise ideas
If you’re embarking on a new era for the business – perhaps replacing an old product with something fresher – the process of writing a marketing plan will help you formalise the idea behind the new development. You’ll spot areas you’ve not considered that relate to how it will be perceived which will in turn help you build the perfect ‘new thing’ for your business.
3. It gets you used to working to timescales
Businesses that have been around for some time often fall into the trap of becoming too cozy. Existing customers continue to pay bills and there always seems to be a surplus in the bank account. That can lead to timescales for new developments and initiatives slipping and, before you know it, the entire organisation grinding to a halt.
Great marketing plans are based on achievable timescales for promotional activity. By developing and adhering to those timescales, your business will automatically adopt the very valuable habit of getting things done on time, thus hitting deadlines and continuing to grow.
4. It’ll help you get financing
Once you know what you need to do, marketing-wise, you can identify areas in which you’ll require financial assistance. No bank manager or investor will hand over penny if you can’t present a plan that details exactly what you intend to do with their money. With a marketing plan, you can do just that.
5. It aligns marketing objectives with business strategy
As daft as it sounds, marketing and business strategy are often far removed from one another. This happens when there is no plan for the former. In such instances, costly adverts, trade shows and other forms of promotion are undertaken, but they bear no relation to the strategy of the business. As a result, they ultimately fail to deliver any meaningful return on investment.
With a marketing plan, organisations can align the overall goals of the business with marketing output. And that’s exactly how it should be.
6. It helps you develop an enviable public personal
Ok, so your business went through that torrid time three years ago, during which negative coverage of the events reached the press. But that’s past history – it’s time now to rebuild the public image of the company, and you’ll only do that with a proper marketing plan.
By establishing the business as a trusted thought leader, your competitors will soon strive to look like you.
ConclusionYour business can survive with its past history, no matter how turbulent or scarring. It can’t survive without a marketing plan. I hope this post has prompted you to start writing your own right away.
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