It’s that time of the year again when you, the Marketing Manager, will be working hard to develop a robust marketing plan ready for the start of the new year. This means justifying why you still require a £500,000 budget and why you need to invest in improving internal communication or investing within your own staff so that you can look to explore new channels (social media, email, mobile, web) in 2011.
Your plan will go into detail about any new markets, identify any competitors within your market place and explain how you will retain profitable customers who seem to always purchase those profitable products. You will explain the routes to market for any new services or products which you are offering in 2011 and conduct a full on SWOT analysis and gather your own thoughts on how you can give your business that…..competitive edge.
Or….on the other hand, you can pop open last years marketing plan and change ‘2010’ to ‘2011’.
So why bother with plans?
Who is brave enough to admit that they don’t have a plan and never have a plan? Everything they do is….well ad-hoc. They roll wit’ it.
Marketing plans are just that. A plan. A roadmap. A journey which you and your team will review frequently and ensure you are on track to meet business objectives. Without one you and your team do not know where they are heading or how you will get to that ultimate goal (which is increase profit if you didn’t know). Without one you are all like ‘headless chickens’ running around the office for 12 months pretending to look busy, spending valuable money, huffing and puffing whilst speed walking from the photocopier back to your desk pretending that your are overloaded with work when really, it’s all a big waste of time. What you are doing has no result. No evaluation. No process.
So, you the Marketing Manager, will you admit to having a weak plan? Does your team buy into your plan? Better yet, does the Sales Director buy into your plan? Do you even know who buys your most profitable products and how you will communicate to keep them in 2011? Does your plan align with the sales plan or overall business strategy? How will reach new audiences which are digisavvy? Will you explore new channels such as social media? Will you invest the time to understand Analytics and really measure the performance of your marketing campaigns?
Is your plan a 12 month plan or are you planning for 5 years time? In which case, is what you do today going to still be applicable in 5 years time considering how fast things are changing?
Or on the other hand….do what you did last year…open up your marketing plan and change 2010 to 2011 and do the same thing all over again.