We all know the old saying. If you fail to plan, you can plan to fail. Most people think, “I’ve run my business successfully for X years now. Why do I need to take the time to evaluate my marketing strategy every year?”
Whether you’ve never sat down and created a marketing plan, or have one which is collecting dust on a shelf or in a file folder, it’s time to revisit the concept.
Reason #1: Times – They are a changin.’ Maybe you need to increase your marketing budget (or actually have one) next year to accommodate your new sales goals. The current way of doing business just isn’t cutting it anymore. Maybe your customer base has changed since you last wrote your plan. Or maybe you need to incorporate new trends into your marketing plan, such as the use of social media.
Reason #2: Your competitors are doing it. Are you going to sit by and let all of your competitors take your business from you? They are taking the time to form a strategy to get new customers. Part of the planning process also involves getting the dirt on what activities your competiton has planned in the past and what they’re doing in the future, what their websites and materials look like, what shows they’re attending, where they advertise, etc. Knowledge (and especially competitive knowledge) is power.
Reason #3: What do you stand to lose by not creating a marketing plan? Think about this:What is the actual cost to your business (in dollars or accounts lost, products sold, etc.) if you don’t effectively plan out your marketing strategy? You may do more than lose new business. You may go out of business.
And for those of you who say you already have a plan in place, good for you. I have one piece of advice for you: Just make sure it doesn’t sit there all year and collect dust on a shelf.