7 Reasons You Should Invest in a Strategic Marketing Plan
Several years ago, I bought a 1950s fixer-upper. Originally, we were going to hire a contractor but when we reviewed the costs, we decided to do it ourselves. After spending countless hours finding tile and granite stores and picking out just the right finishes, I realized that it would have been much less time consuming and expensive to have hired an interior designer in the first place. These professionals know the business – what works and what’s going to look good – and I could have saved a lot of money and countless hours of lost time over the long run. While I learned a lot on my renovation journey, I would have ended up with a more coordinated look and be further along in life had I not taken the time to “do it myself.”
In the same way, hiring someone to develop a strategic marketing plan up front is a smart idea that will reap many rewards. For many business owners, it’s essential to start out doing your own marketing to keep costs down but there comes a time to take a closer, more strategic look at marketing activities to get to the next level.
While this is something that some business owners with marketing training can do themselves, the challenge is having the time to do it while running the daily operations of the business. In these cases, marketing decisions end up being made on the fly with limited information. Many times these activities fall to the bottom of the list as they are squeezed in between meeting customer needs. While some businesses can get away with this for a while, growth potential can be inhibited.
In my experience, some business owners have a hard time investing in research and planning because it by itself doesn’t reap a direct ROI. However, when done properly, the results can be enormous for long-term growth. If you’re wondering if it’s worth it for you, here are seven reasons you should make it a priority.
- Make marketing decisions easier and better. There are thousands of channels and mediums out there to market your business. Many times, business owners just try out marketing tools as vendors come to their door offering the latest and greatest gadget. While there is a place for testing a new marketing platform, a strategic marketing plan can help you easily decide if this is the right one to reach your target audience and achieve your goals.
- Save money. While the initial expense is higher, a well-researched and highly strategic plan will keep your marketing efforts on target and help you avoid costs that don’t align with your plan’s objectives and strategies.
- Access to professional advice. Just like the interior designer, quality professional marketers spend countless hours researching and learning about various marketing strategies, techniques, channels and tools. For busy business owners, this is just not possible. A plan developed by a knowledgeable marketer will direct your efforts towards the most effective solutions.
- Increase marketing effectiveness. With a plan that identifies your specific audiences and strategies to reach them, your messages will resonate better with your customers, which leads to an increase in sales.
- Make faster progress. While time will initially be spent doing research and developing the plan, you will then have a road map, calendar and budget to ensure that your marketing goals are accomplished in a timely manner – keeping you on target with your growth goals.
- Measure your results. If you don’t have a specific baseline of statistics or measurable objectives, you won’t know if progress has been made. A strategic plan can help you define what those measurements should be and allow you to objectively assess your efforts.
- Improve effectiveness of future marketing efforts. With the presence measurable objectives, you will have a better idea of how well your marketing efforts worked so you can refine them to improve future results.
All of this said, there is still a certain amount of trial-and-error in marketing due to many variables. However, if you start out with a plan based on research, you will reduce the percentage of error and associated costs and move your organization to the next level faster and more effectively.