Hint: The answer is YES!
As a business owner and human being you make hundreds, maybe even thousands, of decisions every day. Do you hire an Account Executive to service existing clients so you can find new ones? Or do you secure new clients and then hire someone to service them? Do you buy expensive accounting software? Or do you outsource to an accounting firm who has software? And more importantly, what are you going to have for lunch today?
When it comes to Marketing, the choices are no less complicated. We are all bombarded with emails touting steep discounts and hard sells for the latest and greatest marketing tools that promise to change the way we do business.
As a small business with a limited marketing budget – what tools do you really need?
Do you spend thousands of dollars on SEO? Spend the bulk of your budget on digital marketing? Partner up with Constant Contact for email marketing? Hire a blogger? It’s impossible to answer any of these questions without first identifying where you want to go and how you’ll get there.
A sound marketing strategy includes clear objectives and goals and provides a decision-making framework to help determine what tools you’ll need to achieve your goals. A Strategic Marketing Plan increases overall focus and clarity in decision-making, ensures consistency of message and provides budget allocation and measurement tools.
Increased Focus and Clarity
Knowing where you want to go and how you’ll get there reduces uncertainty and anxiety in decision-making. Instead of rethinking your entire business premise each time you’re faced with new information you can simply revisit your Marketing Plan to see how, and if, the new information impacts your ability to achieve your goals.
As your company grows, and your focus shifts from day-to-day operations to overall strategy management a Strategic Marketing Plan outlining your Company Mission, Core Values, and Unique Selling Proposition serves as a guide for your team. Knowing what’s important to the organization and the reasons behind it can help salespeople craft a more targeted pitch as well as allow the customer service team to respond better to inquiries and enable support staff to solve a wider range of problems independently.
Marketing Budget Allocation
The more you know about your customers and potential customers the easier it is to reach them. A Target Market Analysis provides demographic information and details about how consumers obtain information about your product category. This allows you to prioritize spending based your target market’s habits rather than what’s “hot” or on sale this month.
Knowing where you started and where you ended up as well as all the steps in between is the key to evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Consistent monitoring of your progress will allow you to make changes before it’s too late.
Developing an effective marketing plan shouldn’t be overwhelming if rooted in basic marketing strategy as well as the realities of today’s digital world. Online Marketing planning tools and templates are widely available and accessible these days.
Which, of course, brings up another question, will you go it alone or hire a Marketing Consultant to guide you through the process?