You’ve probably heard the maxim “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” — a witty and powerful turn of phrase that most everyone will agree with. However, if I asked to see your 2013 marketing plan, 70% of you would have nothing to show me. The actual percent varies slightly depending upon whose stats you favour, but the numbers demonstrate that less than 30% of small to medium-sized businesses have a structured and detailed marketing plan. The stats improve slightly (still under 40%) when we consider a marketing plan developed for a specific niche, such as z campaign for mobile users or a content marketing strategy. So some of you are preparing your businesses to take advantage of market opportunWhy Do Most Companies Plan to Fail?ities, but most of you are doing what you did last year, or simply hoping that it will be a good year this year. Is that any way to run a company? It is certainly no way to grow a company.
Before you get into your car and journey somewhere new, you take a moment to figure out where the heck you’re going; that’s just common sense. Thanks to GPS and Google Maps most people can easily plan their route. Isn’t the success of your company (or your career) worth planning too? Why drive on blindly, thinking that your destination should be up here somewhere, when you are likely going in circles
At the very minimum, management should have specific goals and a strategy to attain them. This can be determined internally. Ideally, you should consult with experts to ensure that your goals are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Responsible, Trackable) and that your strategy is thorough and sound. If applicable, the plan should be broken down into specific areas of focus, each with their own strategies. In either case, your marketing strategy should be complemented with a prescribed implementation plan.
The process of developing a sound marketing plan can take several weeks and will force you to really think about how your firm (or department) is doing and how it can improve. It also encourages you to scan the industry, competitors, market trends, etc. to better inform your strategy and decisions. Even if you contract a capable consulting firm it will require a commitment of your time, but it is essential to understanding and piloting a successful corporate course.
After several years of dealing with a struggling economy and the likely scenario of a slow and measured recovery, it has never been more important to be strategic about corporate growth. An investment in market planning martials your resources and enables your team to succeed by determining the course of action and a focus on results. You already know that it’s sensible to invest in planning, but like most other SMB business leaders you hesitate at the expense. Have you considered what it’s costing you not to plan effectively? Now is the time to plan for a good year.
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