If you’re like many of my clients who hate planning and just want to go, go, GO in their business, this message is for you!
While a recent CoSchedule study showed that marketers who document strategy are an astounding 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t; and that marketers who set goals are 429% more likely to report success than those who don’t (and, 81% of those successful, goal-setting marketers achieve them), I get why you wouldn’t want to take the time to build a solid marketing plan.
It’s boring, it’s confusing, and it forces you to take a look at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Which, honestly, isn’t always the most comfortable exercise to engage in.
So, you’ll be happy to hear I’m giving you an out (wink, wink). Here are SEVEN reasons why you don’t need a marketing plan. You’re welcome.
1. You’d rather chase that shiny penny.
Entrepreneurs love the new and different, and every day, it seems like there’s a new technology or channel for marketing your products and services. Why tie yourself down to just a few when you can try them ALL? Marketing plans encourage focus and direction, give you tools for assessing the right activities and channels for your business, and help you measure progress as you advance towards your goals. It’s just this type of planning that enables you to focus on what needs to get done, eliminates time wasters, and directs your energy towards what is valuable in helping you reach your dream. Pffft. Who needs that?
2. You hate being in control.
Don’t you love that feeling of uncertainty and fear when you aren’t quite sure the right path or actions you need to take to reach your goals? Or, better yet, when you don’t set goals at all and you just wing it every day – letting the demands of your client and business drag you this way and that so that you’re in a constant state of reactivity instead of proactivity? Marketing plans take all that excitement and feeling of being out of control away creating a plan for running your business day-to-day and giving you a framework for allocating resources. A marketing plan helps you:
- Identify your target market and understand how your product or service meets their needs.
- Identify your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses.
- Position your brand, products, and services so that your target market clearly sees the value of what you offer as better than, or different from, the competition.
- Set specific, measurable goals and time frames for your marketing activities.
- Map out clear strategy to reach your audience, including the messages, channels and tools you’ll use.
3. You love being a commodity.
If there’s one thing small business owners and entrepreneurs love, it’s being considered exactly the same as their competition! In fact, when you’re the same as everyone else in your market, you don’t have to spend time developing your pricing, because you’ll need to compete on price alone. So, you can’t charge too much! Marketing plans define those things that make you different from the competition, the additional value and flavor of the products and services you offer to address the unique needs of your target audience. They help you build a solid brand that shines like a beacon through the night to attract just the kind of audience that will pay premium prices for what you have to offer. Eesh! Gives me the willies just thinking about it!
4. You love to waste money.
I’m sure you have a ginormous stockpile of funds or investors out the wazoo, willing to foot the bill for every squirrel and shiny penny you want to chase in your business, so having a plan for resources allocation and efficiencies would be a HUGE waste of time, right? Marketing plans lay out the best, most cost-effective ways to get YOUR message to YOUR audience. They take all the fun out of marketing to a bunch of people who’ll never buy your products or services because they’re not a good fit.
5. You’re in business for the fun of it.
I get it, business is fun, you’re chasing your passion – who needs to make money or create real success? You’ve probably said to yourself “heck, I love my business so much, I’d do it for FREE!” And, that’s just what you’re doing. Marketing plans mess with that passion by creating the awareness that marketing is an investment and that by taking the proper steps you can ensure you are maximizing your resources. Even a simple marketing plan includes action steps that encourage consistency so that you can continually focus on the success of your business. What a bummer!
6. You love to spin your wheels.
Mmmmmmm, there’s nothing better than that feeling you get of being constantly busy but not making any real progress. Like a hamster on the wheel – running, running, running, and not getting anywhere. It gets even better when those feelings of anxiety and stress start up so that your BUSY-ness becomes almost a prideful statement! Your friends ask you how you’re doing and you smirk knowingly while saying “I’m sooooooooo busy!” Marketing plans take all that away with their silly focus and frameworks, and clear action steps for achieving your goals. What if (and I don’t want to freak you out here), what IF, by following a plan you could free up time and energy to put towards (gasp!) other things inside and outside your business. Hold on, let me get you a paper bag to breath into!
7. You don’t really want to succeed.
Change is scary, ruts are comfy. Where you are is a safe place to be, settled into your rut, safe in your not-successfulness. Why would you want to change that? A 2018 study showed that 50% of businesses fail after their fifth year in business (20% in the first year, 30% in their second). Investopedia cites the four most common reasons business fail: lack of capital, poor planning, overblowing marketing budgets, and cash flow. Awesome – marketing plans would help you avoid both the poor planning AND overspending on marketing budgets. Dodged a bullet there! Another study showed these top reasons businesses failed:
- 42%of small businesses fail because there’s no market need for their services or products.
- 29%failed because they ran out of cash.
- 23%failed because they didn’t have the right team running the business.
- 19%were outcompeted.
- 18%failed because of pricing and cost issues.
- 17%failed because of a poor product offering.
- 17%failed because they lacked a business model.
- 14%failed because of poor marketing.
- 14%failed because they ignored their customers.
Wow, marketing plans would help solve most of those problems! Definitely avoid marketing plans if you want to stay in your rut of stagnant grow and little success!
I hope these seven tongue-in-cheek excuses have shown you that taking the time to build a business plan is a worthwhile effort. And, this is the perfect time of year to dig down into it! If you want to hash out your business and marketing strategy for 2019, call me – I offer surprisingly affordable strategy packages for small business owners, microbusinesses, and entrepreneurs like you. Together, we can build a plan to help you achieve your success!