For many businesses and organisations, marketing is more often than not, regarded as an expense, rather than being viewed as an investment. Marketing should be measurable so you can track your return on investment. It is critical not to haphazardly spend on marketing, but to be guided through a plan that identifies opportunities and mitigates risks.
A marketing plan is the guide that identifies how you can achieve outcomes, such as increased sales, growth in market share and ways to improve the design and distribution of your product or service. A marketing plan will also provide you with metrics so you know how to measure your success and outcomes.
Unfortunately, far too many businesses and organisations ignore the need for a marketing plan. Instead these organisations implement individual marketing and communications tools, such as advertising, websites and social media without considering how best to reach and motivate target audiences. Outcomes are always going to be diminished when there is no cohesive strategy. Furthermore, this approach fails to take into account potential constraints, such as the need to collect relevant market intelligence, or sales training, to better service customers and to demonstrate responsiveness.
Most businesses and organisations are not in the business of marketing, yet marketing is fundamental in developing capacity to achieve ongoing growth. A plan, like any other investment, lets you develop a full picture of what is required and how to allocate resources accordingly.
Existing marketing plans need to be reviewed to ensure they are relevant. A marketing audit involves a healthcheck on marketing activities, enabling an assessment against the identified strategies. A marketing audit does not replace the need for a plan, but can identify when strategies may need to be revised, or if actions are not generating the required results.
Before you embark on marketing expenditure, consider the need for a marketing plan to deliver a positive return from marketing, saving you time and money.