Pages Navigation Menu
COVID-19 Information - During these challenging times, TheHomeMag is here to help with free resources to keep your business operational.

The Five Key Benefits of a Marketing Plan

The Five Key Benefits of a Marketing Plan

A common excuse for people not to have a Marketing Plan for their business is: “I just don’t have the time to prepare a marketing plan.” But are you really sure you couldn’t make some time? Consider that a marketing plan will help you understand your customers, your competitors and your market environment so much better. Consider that it will help you develop a marketing mix that your customers will find highly attractive. Consider that your promotional activities will be so much better planned. Surely time spent on your marketing plan will be time saved several times over as you become much more efficient in your marketing.

1. A marketing plan makes sense of your business environment
When developing your marketing strategy you need to take account of your customers, your competitors, and all the factors that could affect your ability to operate effectively in the marketplace: the social, legal, economic, political and technological issues that impact on your business. The likelihood is that these will be a complex mix, becoming more so as you look into the future. Some aspects will be more important than others, and the process of developing a marketing plan will help you decide where you should place your priorities.

2. A marketing plan enables clear decision making
Having determined what factors will affect your business, and auditing what resources you have within your business to deal with them, you are well placed to make all the marketing decisions you need. Are your products really meeting your customers’ needs, or should you be developing new products? Are your prices right for your market? Do you need extra staff or should you outsource some services? Should you be trading online? Is that instead of or, as well as, trading off-line? Do you need a PR campaign, and advertising campaign, a direct mail campaign…? The questions you would usually consider in an ad hoc manner (if at all) suddenly become much easier in the context of marketing plan with clear objectives, timescales and budget.

3. A marketing plan integrates long term planning and short term implementation
Your strategic marketing plan should reach 3-5 years ahead, giving you the ability to look ahead and to be prepared to meet any changes as and when they occur. It won’t be cast in stone, though. You should revisit it regularly – how frequently will depend on the nature of your business and the extent to which the factors affecting it change – and make sure it remains relevant to the marketing environment in which you operate. At a more detailed, tactical level your annual plan will dovetail with your strategic plan, ensuring that every action you take is geared towards achieving your strategic goals.

4. A marketing plan prevents panic decisions
The flip side of this coin, of course, is that a forward looking marketing plan will give you as clear a view as possible of what is going on in the market place, as well as providing you with a framework in which to make any decisions to deviate from your plan. Sometimes there will be occasions when you want to change course – for sound business purposes. But the framework that the plan provides will mean that you will not be taken by surprise by market developments, nor will you be pushed this way and that by unexpected pressures.

5. A marketing plan is a working document
A marketing plan is no substitute for a crystal ball – but who has one of those? A regular review of your plan, to ensure that you are following it, and to check that what you are following has not been rendered redundant by market changes, is essential. But that doesn’t mean that your plan should only be dusted off once a year and annual review time. Indeed, as a working document, you should refer to it whenever you have a marketing decision to make and amend it whenever you identify a shift in your market.

Click here to get our free eBook on how to create a marketing plan.