Do you really need a marketing plan?

Social media columnist
Social media columnist

It’s tempting to try to run your business without a plan. It may seem like you can just get up each day and do what you want to do and the business will be successful.

While that sometimes does happen, it’s not likely. The main reason most businesses fail is due to lack of a plan and lack of follow through. It doesn’t matter how large or small your business is; you really do need a plan.

If you want to have a successful business, then you will need to go through the effort of creating a marketing plan. Would you set off on a journey to somewhere new without either looking up the route or having a sat nav? Doing that is a sure way to get lost en route or not even be certain where to start from. As with any journey, there may be delays and diversions on the way but you do at least know your final destination.

Here’s why I think marketing plans are worth the effort and will help you.

Marketing plans:

Answer Questions – While doing the research for the plan, you’ll answer a lot of questions that will help you in your business. You’ll get to know your audience, understand the different marketing methods, and purposes and more.

Assist with Decision Making – The facts you uncover with the research that you do will help you make good decisions about your business on a daily basis. Without the plan you will be less able to make informed choices and more likely to act on impulse.

Help You Create Goals – The plan will automatically help you define the goals for your business and the marketing that you do for your business.

Identify your Unique Selling Proposition – This is what makes you different from the competition. Discovering your USP will shape all your future marketing efforts.

Help Set Budgets – While creating the marketing plan you will also be able to determine a good budget for your marketing efforts.

Define the Market – The research that you do will also help you define the market so that you can figure out where you fit in.

Assess the Competition – As you create your plan, it will give you the opportunity to get to know your competition. When you do that, you can identify gaps in your products and/or services and fill them.

Help You Stay the Course – Your marketing plan will keep you on the road toward success.

Change with the Times - You can change it over time, but having the plan ensures your arrival to a planned destination.

If you think you can do all that without a marketing plan and get anywhere in your business within a reasonable amount of time while making a profit, you are likely to be wrong. If you want a direction, want to know what you’re doing and where you’re going, and how to get there, then you need to make a marketing plan.

A successful long-term business needs a marketing plan, even if it’s just one page long. Writing out the steps you plan to take, and how you plan to take them when marketing your business will not always ensure success - but not doing so will likely result in failure.

BREAKING NEWS

Facebook Launches Campaign Planner for Facebook and Instagram: Facebook rolled out Campaign Planner, “a standalone tool for media planners to draft, compare and share media plans using reach and frequency buying across Facebook and Instagram.” Facebook’s new Campaign Planner is available to anyone with access to a Business Manager account. Simply complete and submit the Campaign Planner Access Request Form to Facebook and wait to be approved.

Facebook Messenger Rolls Out End-to-End Encryption to All Users: Facebook finished rolling out Secret Conversation “to all 900 million Facebook Messenger users in the past few weeks.”

Facebook Introduces Marketplace: Facebook reports that more than 450 million people visit buy-and-sell groups on Facebook each month. “To help people make more of these connections, [Facebook is] introducing Marketplace, a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community.”

Twitter Adds Periscope Account Links to Web Profiles: Periscope and Twitter both announced that Periscope users can now link their Periscope accounts to their Twitter web profiles, “making it easier for followers to discover and watch your live videos.” Periscope offers a quick tutorial on how to link your Periscope account to your Twitter profile in a tweet.

Twitter Makes Moments Available to All Users: Twitter announced that Moments is now available to all users. According to a tweet from the company’s official handle, “Creators everywhere can now tell stories with Tweets.” This announcement was followed by another tweet offering “tips and tricks for making a great Moment.” Moments is currently available for twitter.com and is “coming soon to mobile.”

LinkedIn Introduces B2B Product and Service Reviews to the News Feed: LinkedIn announced “strategic partnerships” with three online review sites, G2 Crowd, IT Central Station, and TrustRadius, that will allow “reviewers to showcase their unique skill sets, knowledge and expertise with B2B products and services and, likewise, enable brands to promote their customers’ ratings and reviews by spurring meaningful conversations with their LinkedIn followers.”

Periscope Rolls Out Curated Broadcast Channels: Periscope introduced “a new way to discover live video on Periscope.tv, where curated broadcast channels shine and it’s easier than ever to search for live videos.

Snapchat Renames Company Snap Inc., Adds New Video Format, and Releases First Video-Enabled Hardware Product: Snapchat rebranded its company as Snap Inc. and introduced a new hardware product called Spectacles. Snap Inc. shared on its company blog that “Spectacles are sunglasses with an integrated video camera that makes it easy to create Memories.”

Snapchat Boasts 60 Million Daily Active Users: Bloomberg reports that “Snapchat now has more than 60 million daily active users in the U.S. and Canada,” which “represents about a third of Facebook’s audience” in the same region. It

YouTube Adds Paid Promotion Disclosure Text for Influencer Videos: YouTube launched “a new, optional video feature that adds visible text on the video for the first few seconds a viewer watches, informing viewers of a paid promotion.”