The Key to Successful Marketing in Tough Times
The sluggish economy continues to present challenges. While it has improved somewhat from its 1Q09 doldrums, the weak, recessionary US economy has taken its toll on marketing budgets, marketing programs, the media (most of whom depend upon advertising revenues) and marketing firms.
In tough times like these, a marketing professional has to ensure that every marketing dollar counts. There is little or no room for guesswork or errors. Now is not the time for guesswork, marketing from the gut or reactionary decision-making.
Now is the time for every marketing organization to have a marketing plan. At Maple, we are continually surprised by the high percentage of companies that have no such plan. Just this month we sat down with an industrial company with revenues of $25M+ who has no marketing plan. They have a large and capable sales force, but they have failed to equip and empower their team of sales pros with a high-impact marketing program.
Here are 10 rock-solid reasons to implement or update your marketing plan:
1- a marketing plan ensures more effective resource allocation
2- a marketing plan prompts analysis, whereby you inevitably learn something new about your customers, your competition or your competitive position
3- a marketing plan (implemented) makes your sales force more effective by compressing the sales cycle; it gives them a better chance of opening doors and it often reduces the number of sales calls required to close deals
4- a marketing plan enables all departments and functions (production, customer service, sales and QC) to become better coordinated and to synchronize efforts... the "right hand" knows and understands what the "left hand" is doing (and why and when it's doing such things).
5- a marketing plan eliminates guess work: should we buy this advertising package ... it sounds like a good deal? Don't guess or rely on a hunches, especially when dollars are tight.
6- a marketing plan gives you a solid reason to say no to media sales reps who continually pressure you to purchase (you can say honestly and forthrightly: it's not in the plan and there's no budget for it)
7- a marketing plan causes you to create a system of goals and measurements
8- a marketing plan is a reason (and a process) for focusing your team (think broadly and add "outsiders" to the project team) on growing your business and communicating more effectively with your customers. (And how can that ever be a bad thing?)
9- a marketing plan enables you to harness the power and cost-efficiency of flighting
10-a marketing plan enables causes you to consider (i.e., to evaluate) all channels, tactics and media. Many clients express to us that they feel stuck in a rut with the same old advertising, which often involves tired tactics. I guarantee if you take the time to formulate a marketing plan, you will inject a strong does of creativity into your promotional program!
Do you have a marketing plan? If not, contact Maple. Just post a comment here. We'll be glad to help you. Over the past several months we've begun working on about a half-dozen marketing plans for clients ranging from healthcare to professional services to educational institutions. We would be delighted to work with you on yours!