Marketing planning is an essential activity for your business’ success, because success rarely comes from off-the-cuff decisions, and without a plan you’re basically shooting targets in the dark!
Mapping out a strategy and action plan helps to prioritise the high-impact activities and allocate the resources required to implement and measure the results. Without a documented plan, goals, objectives and priorities seem to escape into thin air. Every successful marketing (and life!) activity requires goals and objectives and an activity plan helps to prevent confusion over which task is more important to get done today.
And that’s just the beginning. Here’s our top 4 reasons why you need to start planning your marketing sooner, rather than later.
Planning enables clear decision making
In order to create a valuable marketing plan, you first need to audit your current situation. What has been working? How efficiently are your customers moving through the buying cycle? Where are there bottlenecks? Where are you missing the tools you need to help them progress?
This current state audit forms the basis of the goals we set for ourselves and the subsequent strategies and tactics we outline to meet them.
This kind of research and goal setting helps you to make clear decisions and diminishes the temptation to jump on miscellaneous opportunities that don’t meet your current marketing needs.
Planning helps you to set goals, which reduces measurement headaches
Without goals you have nothing to measure the impact of your tactics against. tactics are actually penetrating the market. Planning early gives you the best opportunity to set clear SMART goals and create the content you need to reach those goals.
If you’re organised, you can measure your content marketing goals, tweak any effort that isn’t working and measure your content marketing ROI. Measuring your marketing goals keeps you focused on what’s important, and is therefore one of the key factors to drive results in your business.
Planning keeps your branding and messaging consistent
Marketers have so many platforms and avenues to cover, whether you’re tweeting, posting on Facebook, creating a pin, or writing your next blog, it’s easy to get caught up and overwhelmed.
Planning your marketing efforts creates the ability to keep your message unified - you’re not rushing - and simple brand indicators such as your tagline, brand colours and brand essence don’t get missed in moments of mayhem.
Planning helps you target and meet customer needs
The focus of every marketing plan should be to meet buyer needs, and most strategies start with a solid profile of the target audience or, as we like to call it, the buyer persona. This brings focus to your strategic thinking, helping you ensure that all initiatives are designed to help that persona act.
Persona-specific plans give your communications a better chance of engaging because they are tailored to your target market’s real motivations and needs. If you’re able to directly impact and solve your customer’s problems, they’re going to buy from you again and again.
Planning in advance will help you clearly map out your strategy and keep you organised, but it’s only when you’re monitoring and measuring you will be able to see opportunities to tweak and drive greater results. Planning your marketing is always going to make things easier down the road, but it’s important your working marketing plan document remains flexible and adjustable to what the data is telling you.
How can you start ramping up your marketing efforts for 2016? Download the Brand chemistry editorial calendar and start planning today.