Marketing Plans and the Power of the Process

by Dave on May 25, 2011

Marketing Plan Roadmap

Marketing Plans have a hidden benefit

Don’t have time for marketing plans? Not only are you putting your marketing investment at risk, you are missing an opportunity to gain valuable insight into your entire business.

Over my career, I’ve realized that clients gain as much, if not more, out of the process of planning than from the plan itself. How can that be?

It’s the process, not the plan, that delivers insight

Initially it doesn’t make sense. People buy marketing plans, consultants sell them. That must be where the value lies, right?

Smart consultants might sell plans, but they know that the true “gems” – insight into the business – are unearthed during the process of building that plan. That’s why good consultants insist that you contribute and participate in the process. If you aren’t there, you won’t witness that discovery. You’ll miss the opportunity to revisit key assumptions and gain new insights. It’s the exploration of your assumptions that provides for dramatic changes in how you view and manage your business and your market.

Example: Audience Insight

When I’m working with my marketing coaching clients, one of our first discussions is about their target audience – who are they trying to reach with their marketing. More often than not as we explore their audience, services, and messaging, we find that there’s a mismatch – they might be missing an important segment of the market, or that their message to a segment doesn’t make sense. Suddenly we have an opportunity to change the direction of the business and the direction of the marketing as well. If you don’t participate in a collaborative planning process, the opportunity is lost.

Skipping the Plan is Just Too Risky

For a small business, one that might not have the time to regularly revisit their business plans, the marketing plan provides an opportunity to reconsider their assumptions and make course corrections. Miss the planning step, and more than likely your marketing will flounder. Do it right, and you can fine tune your entire business.

Build your plan. The plan itself will valuable but the knowledge generated building your plan is priceless.

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