I’ve already read lots of ‘top tips’ for businesses in 2012 and most advocate the usual array of cost cutting, invoice chasing and ‘free’ marketing ideas. I have also noticed a greater emphasis on planning and even the odd mention of upstream marketing (which is essentially all the research and background work that comes before the creative bits).
As a marketer who specialises in the planning phase and loves all the strategic stuff this is music to my ears.
But is it really worth spending time and effort on writing a marketing plan when you know your own business inside out? Here are just three of the key reasons why I write a marketing plan each year:
- If it’s important, write it down – I find that simply going through the process and discipline of putting pen to paper (or more likely fingers to keyboard) really helps to clarify my thoughts
- Gives focus – actively thinking about what you want to achieve and how you are going to reach your targets helps give focus to your marketing activity. Having a comprehensive plan of activities saves you time and money throughout the year
- Business review – having a clear plan to refer to makes it easier to review your progress, celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes.
It’s tempting not to write a formal marketing plan especially if, like me, you work largely independently or marketing is just one of your many responsibilities. It is well worth investing the time though and is one of the best pieces of advice I have read for a happier and healthier business in 2012.