Ok, wait. Before you breathe that giant sigh of relief or jump for joy, you might want to read through to the end of this post. While we’ve got some reasons you don’t need to create your business’ marketing plan...you might not be too fond of the aftermath of that decision.
So, we’ve all been there. Our day, week or even month has completely spiraled out of control. Consuming our time and energy, we’re intent on accomplishing the day to day items on our to do list and ultimately we end up ignoring the bigger picture.
As entrepreneurs it’s difficult to dedicate time to sitting down and mapping out our future. The numbers back up the reality of this struggle when it comes to marketing. Only 56% of small businesses even have marketing plans. So what are the other 44% missing out on? Or are they actually the ones who have gotten it right?...
Working with entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses, we’ve heard the below responses countless times when discussing the strategy and planning phase for their business’ marketing.
“We already know all of that”
“We don’t need to do that, we just need people to know we exist!”
“We don’t have time to waste planning - we need sales now!”
“We can’t afford to spend money on research and planning, can’t we just get our blog setup and start posting content?”
“Let’s just start sharing content on Facebook already!”
Have you caught yourself saying (or at least thinking) these thoughts yourself? Well, you’re certainly not alone, and honestly we don’t blame you. Truthfully, there are times we do wish it was that easy.
But, time and time again, we see businesses bypass this critical step and crank through time and money only to find that their efforts are fruitless, their resources spent and they’re back at square one.
Avoid this frustrating and expensive cycle. Start your marketing off right - with a plan. Or don’t. Ultimately the choice is yours, we just hope to shed some light on your options!
It’s a waste of time.
Planning your marketing takes tons of time. We’re entrepreneurs - we don’t have that kind of time! Right? Wrong! As Gary Keller states in The ONE Thing:
“If everyone has the same number of hours in the day, why do some people seem to get so much more done than others? How do they do more, achieve more, earn more, have more? If time is the currency of achievement, then why are some able to cash in their allotment for more chips than others?
The answer is they make getting to the heart of things the heart of their approach. They go small. Going small is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.”
So ask yourself again - do you have that kind of time? We may feel like we don’t have time, but we should always make time for the things we know are important. And planning your future, your success, and your happiness is important - right? Right.
Stephen Covey discusses an interesting concept on time management in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (conveniently summarized here by HubSpot). Covey’s Time Management Grid outlines four quadrants where people spend their time. Many people spend way too much time in what I like to refer to as the ‘danger zones’: Q3 (urgent and not important) and Q4 (non-urgent and not important).
Use these quadrants to assess your use of time and manage your priorities. Ultimately the goal is to focus on the IMPORTANT things first and avoid tasks that don’t get you closer to your goals.
Avoid these 4 most common success-killing mistakes when developing your marketing plan by downloading our free cheatsheet today.
It won’t work anyways.
Why develop a marketing plan when I know I won’t get the results I want out of it?…
There are two things I need you to think about if you believe this statement/question.
First, we should start by asking what does “work” even mean? Have you set the business goals you hope to hit with the help of your marketing efforts? Have you determined which key performance indicators you should be watching to determine if you’re making progress towards that goal? If you can’t answer yes to both of those questions, then you’re probably right - you’re marketing plan won’t work.
Setting your goals improves learning and motivation and increases your responsibility and ownership over your actions. Studies show that people are more likely to achieve their goals when they write them down, share them and update confides on their progress. Practice these goal-setting and achieving habits!
"Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan." - Tom Landry
If you’re the other way around and have goals - then you best be setting up your plan to get there! Because as the wise Antoine de Saint-Exupery stated, “a goal without a plan is just a wish…”. Making that dream a reality is where your marketing planning comes in. Investing and committing to your goals by creating a plan will critically affect your achievement levels.
Second, do you know who your audience is? Because if you don’t, then your plan won’t work. If you don’t have a deep and intimate understanding of your target audience (or buyer persona, as we like to call them) then you’re putting yourself miles behind the competition.
How will you know where to spend your time if you don’t know where they spend theirs? How will you know what messages will resonate with them if you don’t understand their pain points?
"Audiences everywhere are tough.They don’t have time to be bored or brow beaten by orthodox, old-fashioned advertising. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in." - Craig Davis
Get the audience down, and you’re much closer to creating an effective marketing plan.
Because what worked for my friend’s business will work for mine.
As much as we may like to believe this, we’re going to have to call BS. While there may certainly be best practices and general trends that all businesses can follow to see some level of success - wouldn’t you rather see wildly significant success?
Your audience is unique, as will be their response to your marketing. Until you understand your audience and their behavior, you can’t expect what worked for someone else to work for you.
For example, take a look at the number of social platforms alone. There are over 20 primary social platforms with more than 2 billion users worldwide (only a third of the global population). While some of us may be spending all of our time on every one of these channels, there’s a good chance that the majority of users have more limited time than this - and a platform preference. So where is YOUR audience?
Where do they want you to be and what type and frequency of messages do they want from you? Most importantly, what offers can YOU present them with that will appeal to them most and encourage them to take your desired action?
So there you have it, all the reasons you shouldn’t have a marketing plan. If you were able to make it to the end of this post and you still believe you don’t need to plan out your marketing strategy, we wish you good luck. But for those of you who are now convinced that developing a marketing plan is in your business’ best interest, we’re here to help you get started!