It’s the end of the year. If you are a small business, you’ve no doubt completed your annual budget and hopefully your business plan for the new year. The natural next step is a marketing plan, right? You can do it that way – but ideally you would have your business plan drafted, then your marketing plan drafted, and then your budget. Next, tweak the two plans to match your budget; otherwise it’s the cart before the horse – so to speak. You need the creative freedom to dream while making your business and marketing plans and then tone them down to reality to match the constraints of (Ta-da!) the “budget.”
Here are the top 10 reasons to do a Strategic Marketing Plan.
1. To Know Where Your Money is Going
In conversations with digital advertising agencies, they’ll admit that some clients simply throw money at them because they have a fluid budget. That makes it challenging for the agency to show adequate ROI or valuable conversions to their client when there is no strategy behind the advertising spend. As Dave Ramsey often states, “You need to tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” He is speaking in respect to the need for a monthly budget, but it’s the same with a marketing plan. You need to know where your money is doing the best for your business and lean into that knowledge to plan the spending for the coming year.
2. To Confirm Who Your Customer Is
After completing your marketing analysis, it should be clear what your best channels are and who your current customer is. Perhaps you’re seeing growth in an untapped market or demographic. This is something you wouldn’t have paid much attention to without an analysis shining a light on it. If so, now is the time to target your marketing efforts in that direction. Need help with that? Contact us.
3. To Choose Your Channels Wisely
Your marketing and competition analysis should clearly display marketing and advertising channels that have given you the best ROI. You don’t want to waste time and money in social media marketing (SMM) if your highest conversions are coming from organic sources. Instead share the largest amount of your budget on SEO and content marketing (blog posts and fresh website content). This knowledge will help you introduce new marketing channels into your strategy. When you have a clear picture of what worked last year it makes it easier to take a little risk this coming year by introducing a new marketing or advertising avenue. Haven’t tried email marketing yet? Now is the time… ask us how.
4. To Determine Your Goals for the Coming Year
Now that you’ve determined your ROI and who your customer is, you are at the starting point to guide and prioritize your marketing and advertising. Those written goals will serve as an overview map for you and your leadership team. It will allow you to be proactive instead of reactive.
5. To Stop Putting Out Fires
If most of your leadership meeting agendas include a list of problems (of course, in business we call them “challenges”) to be remedied, that is not the best use of your time and is not moving your business forward. Again, the goal is to be proactive and prepared instead of perpetually reactive. A Strategic Marketing Plan can help with that.
6. To Allow for the Whirlwind
The Whirlwind is cleverly defined in The 4 Disciplines of Execution as the day-to-day flurry of projects, tasks, and events taking place in a business. And we can let the whirlwind take care of itself. A Strategic Marketing Plan brings goals into the picture. And they are referred to as Wildly Important Goals or WIGS. The only way you will move forward and not sit in the whirlwind is to determine and strategize your business’ WIGS. Franklin Covey has a very helpful course to direct you (and your team) on the path to success with focus, strategy, and accountability.
7. To See The Big Picture
At what other point in your business year do you evaluate where you are at? You should have monthly reporting for ongoing stats that lead direction, but a Strategic Marketing Plan will help you create small manageable goals that correspond to an overall goal (more customers).
8. To Offer Staffing Direction
Once you see the bigger picture for your business you can assess your current staffing situation. This practice allows you to discover the gaps and plan hiring accordingly. Once you have a clear understanding of what staffing changes you will make and when, you can communicate that to your team and it will motivate them.
9. To Motivate Your Team
The people in your business are looking for direction and purpose. They want to know where they are in the big picture of what success means to your company. Written goals that are communicated and revisited create accountability and achievement. These goals will be included in your Strategic Marketing Plan.
10. To Create New Customers
New marketing and advertising channels with measurable goals will help your prospective customers hear about you. New customers in the sales funnel will bring more business and tell their friends about their experience with you and the cycle of viral marketing continues. And now your happy and motivated staff will provide better customer care. It’s an example of a win-win scenario.
Now you know why you need a Strategic Marketing Plan. Perhaps you’d like the recommended next steps.
Step 1: Conduct a marketing analysis
Step 2: Do an online analysis of your competition.
Step 3: Create a conversion report for the year-to-date to see what marketing channels brought the best conversion rates.
Step 4: Review this year’s marketing plan and compare it to the actual results found in the year-to-date reports.
Step 5: Now that you’ve completed the research, you can create your new strategic marketing plan. Hint… If you’ve still got the marketing analysis from when you created your original business plan you can use that as your starting point or baseline.
There are more than ten reasons to have a Strategic Marketing Plan in place. The main reason is that it will improve your overall business. That should be reason enough. If this all seems overwhelming, then rely on us to execute your Marketing Analysis and develop your Strategic Marketing Plan. Byte Technology’s marketing expertise can do the research and online analysis needed to assist you with your new Strategic Marketing Plan. We look forward to the opportunity and offer a free consultation.