Typically, a marketing plan is a part of the overall business strategy and it only makes sense to develop the marketing portion so it works on the business goals and objectives and provides an increase in profitability and not just sales revenue as could easily be the case if a marketing plan is implemented without careful consideration to the costs associated with those plans.
Many times I see companies that simply feel as though they should “try” anything and everything thinking that if they throw enough “darts” at the wall then some of them will stick. Well some may get lucky in doing that, however, most don’t. Even if one of those items is successful at getting you more business, how do you know which one and at what cost?
In developing any marketing strategy one must first defined business objectives in order to establish time-frames and specific goals for both the short and long term. Once the business objectives have been established then an analysis of the past performance, marketing efforts, and current customer base can be completed in order to fully develop a target market.
I have found that the most critical piece to any business’ success is ensuring that the strategies chosen must be maintained, monitored, and updated on a consistent basis in order to increase the desired results.
Without properly defined goals and objectives or the necessary tracking mechanisms in place you will end up wasting: time, resources, and efforts. Ultimately, you will be starting over again once the current influx of new business has diminished.
So, the first step is to develop a plan. The plan, once established must be followed and adhered to by everyone involved in the implementation in order to maintain consistency and provide for the tracking of marketing results.
As an example, if your objective is to increase sales by 20% over the next 12 months, then a strategy can be developed in order to attain that goal.
In order to establish a strategy to accomplish that goal, one must fully analyze the past performance and efforts that have been utilized over the last few years in order to establish a baseline for sales revenue, identify high and low sales periods, and evaluate the effectiveness of any past marketing efforts. But nothing can be done until the objective or goal is identified first.