Why are small businesses today going without marketing plans (and why is it a bad idea?)
When I talk to Indiana small business owners about their marketing strategies, I often get a blank stare. Many of them don’t have a formal marketing plan, but rather some marketing ideas they’ve written down or advertising tactics they’ve tried. They are looking to me for answers or a “quick fix” as to how to promote themselves.
The Marketing Mindset of the Past:
When I first started my business back in 2005, I found that business owners were more open to doing a formal marketing plan. They wanted the research of their industry, target audience, competitive landscape and all available options for marketing their business before deciding on a strategy. In addition, companies were more likely to have a specific marketing budget set aside for the year, and wanted to spread that out among several tactics. This information helped guide their decisions throughout the year.
Today’s Marketing Mindset:
Fast-forward to today’s, fast-paced, quick decision world of business. CEOs want instant results, but often don’t want to take the time to plan for success. Business owners want to skip that crucial first step of creating a formal, written marketing document that outlines how and why they should market a certain way. So they try this event and that advertising placement and then send out a few mailings and hire a social media intern, and wonder why they’re not seeing the results they want. But without the information necessary to make good decisions, business owners often fail to achieve those results.
Reasons for the New Mindset:
Why do business owners want to operate without marketing plans? A few reasons include:
- Increased competitive pressure
- Low/non-existent budgets
- Desire for instant results
- Time constraints
- False notion of what works
An Investment in a Marketing Plan = An Investment in Your Success
No one should start a new business without a business plan to determine the market for the business, how the business will run, and how the business will sustain itself. Marketing is a part of that overall business plan, and business owners should focus on marketing in order to understand the market, competitive landscape and how best to communicate with prospects to achieve success. An investment in a formal marketing plan will pay off in the end because it will keep businesses from spending money on marketing tactics that don’t align with the company’s business goals or reach the intended audience. So please don’t skimp on this important step, or you may regret it in the future. Create a marketing plan and revisit and revise it each year, so you’ll be armed with the right information to make good marketing decisions.