With 2012 just around the corner, it is that time again to start planning for the new year. To start setting budgets, defining goals and objectives and either creating or fine-tuning your current marketing plan. Seems like a big undertaking, you say? When you consider the benefits that spending some time planning will bring, it is worth it.
If you are like most small business owners, you have too much to do with too few resources. Development of a plan will help keep you focused and on track. It will assist you in making decisions that are proactive and gives you actionable structure. A marketing plan is really the blueprint for communicating the value of your products/services. You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint so why would you run your business without one? One of the strongest benefits to having a marketing plan is that it assists you in managing your business decisions especially as changes in the marketplace occur.
Regardless of the business, marketing always plays a key role in its success and at the end of the day it comes back around to the relationships you have with your customers. You need to develop a plan outlining how you will acquire new customers (recruiting) and how you will keep them satisfied with the products and services you are providing (retaining).
A well-thought through plan is important in building long-term profitable relationships and serves as the foundation for all your business decisions. By setting clear goals and objectives, you can look at each opportunity that comes your way and ask yourself: “does this assist in achieving my goals and objectives; will this reach my target audience?”. Understanding your customer is vital to building long-term relationships. If a customer doesn’t feel like you really know them or that they truly matter to you, they will take their business elsewhere.
A marketing plan can also help you to identify your business’ weaknesses and weaknesses in your overall business plan. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken.
Marketing plans don’t have to be thousands of pages or cost thousands of dollars. Developing a plan is something that you can do but it will take some time to develop a strong, realistic and achievable plan.
It is important to keep in mind that the plan is only as good as the information you put into it. If you use incorrect data you could make some bad decisions as well as set unrealistic financial projections. Crap in…crap out.
Keeping these points in mind, now is the time to start creating your blueprint for 2012.