Have you been saying, “We don’t need to invest in a marketing plan! We know what to do!” If so, read this blog post in which I explain the reasons a marketing plan can actually save you money.
Here are four things I’ve observed that happen when you don’t have a written marketing plan.
1. Without a plan, you may not execute with industry best practices.
When you sit down to write out your marketing plan, chances are you will put some thought into what you will do. You may hire an expert to consult on the plan or you may research best practices in marketing and look at what your competitors are doing (and how well they do it). Hopefully you will also analyze what you’ve done in the past, get rid of the non-performers, and/or increase the high-performers.
The marketing planning process ensures that WHAT you do is more likely to provide results. Doing the right thing and getting the right results in marketing is a good way to avoid wasting marketing dollars on bad marketing.
2. Without a plan, your marketing may require a lot of re-work.
Approaching your marketing in a one-by-one tactical approach is not cost-effective. First, you don’t take the time to consult with vendors and ask for their recommendations. You may end up asking for something that is not cost effective, not necessary, or not feasible because other critical tasks need to be done with or before it.
An example is a client of mine that wanted a new website. They jumped into the project with a low-cost vendor from overseas without a plan or a specification. They did not have the spec, a design (even a rough design!), a map of the new site architecture, keyword analysis OR a strategy for SEO. They just hired the vendor and started the project.
They ended up paying too much money for each of the website “parts,” because there was no project plan. When the screens were designed, the client said, “That’s not what I had in mind,” leading to several more iterations. When the website pages were created, I pointed out that the structure was not optimal for SEO, leading to a restructuring of the site. When the content was created, it wasn’t optimized for any keywords. A proper marketing plan would call for a website update plan with all the right parts done right: spec, architecture map, design, SEO keyword strategy, and content creation. With a plan, there is less need for costly re-work.
3. When you don’t plan your marketing, you may not get economies of scale.
When you show a vendor that you have planned and budgeted for marketing, they know they need to come to the table with a sharp pencil. Furthermore, when you show them the volume of your marketing tactics that they will provide, they tend to sharpen their pencil even more.
Here’s an example. Another client of mine used to call their videographer whenever they thought of an idea for a cool marketing video. The videographer gave a price for each video, without knowing if he would get any further business. But, one-time pricing is usually much higher than on-going client work.
When my client sat down with the videographer and showed them their new marketing plan that called for monthly video production over a year’s time. With the plan, the vendor’s prices became more cost-effective. The videographer also valued the client more for being able to plan ahead and schedule their work. They put my client with their planned, on-going work at the top of their priority list and scheduled their jobs ahead of onesy-twosy jobs from other clients. (Need video content ideas? See my blog post, 30 Creative Ideas for Your Video Marketing, here.)
4. Without a plan, your marketing campaigns are more likely to be disjointed and less-effective.
When you approach marketing on an as-you-go basis, you are more likely to work with a multitude of vendors. Without the plan, no one is asking, “How do all these campaigns work together?” Your marketing may have different messages and branding, because it hasn’t been planned.
It’s been proven that integrated, planned marketing produces better results. Planned, integrated marketing causes an effect called “response compression,” and is best done with a written plan (see my previous post, Integrate Marketing for Response Compression, here). Someone sees your ad, then visits your trade show booth, then gets a follow-up mailer, then attends your webinar. All your messaging has the same look and feel and compresses the time for a response from the contact who is getting multiple marketing touchpoints. Integrated, planned marketing increases the results you receive.
Creating a written marketing plan helps you avoids costly waste of your marketing dollars, while at the same time – if done right – will increase your sales and your revenues. So, why not create your marketing plan now?
At New Incite we’ve created hundreds of marketing plans that produce results and save money. Contact us today for consulting on or creation of your plan. You can also download our one-page marketing plan template here.