Some Things to Know Before You Build Your Marketing Plan

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” -Yogi Berra

You can find lots of online resources showing you how to write a marketing plan. Some use a fill-in-the­ blanks approach while others give you general guidelines and specify necessary topics to be included in the plan. There are marketing plan guidelines for promoting products and other types of plans for promoting services.

I’m not going into detail about what constitutes a marketing plan. I am going to ask you tough questions before you start. Your plan helps you organize your thinking. It’s a fluid document gives you a track to run on. It should be evaluated on a regular basis.

But what about the stuff no one tells you about writing a marketing plan?

Ask yourself:

  1. Why am I writing a marketing plan for my business?
  2. Did someone say I should?
  3. Can I write this by myself or do I need help?
  4. How much time and energy will it take to write the plan?

Key points:

  • In your plan, less of everything is more and creativity is crucial
  • Your plan is not a term paper, it’s an action document
  • Don’t diminish the quality of your marketing plan by watering it down with gratuitous information

Specifics:

  • Use everyday words, not jargon (hard to do for many people)
  • Summarize and synthesize key data points
  • Go easy on timelines and charts
  • Clearly articulate the difference between strategies and tactics
    • Strategies are what we want to accomplish
    • Tactics are specific tools used to implement the strategy
  • Include a budget and aim to get your budget figures “roughly right” not perfect

Here is a final note for those of you who want to look at planning in a new light.

“For battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

-Dwight D Eisenhower, who led the Allied Forces in the invasion against the Nazis during World War II.