At various points in my career, I’ve found myself asking, “Why do I need a marketing plan?”
After all, I’ve been working in content and marketing for a while. I have a pretty good grasp of what I’m doing. I can just wing it, right?
As you tackle more projects and grow your team, the importance of a marketing plan becomes more and more apparent. I’ll explain why in this article. But first, let’s take a step back.
What Is a Marketing Plan?
A marketing plan is a document that explains how a business will promote its brand, products and services to drive sales. It includes information about the company’s messaging, target audience and marketing channels.
By creating a marketing plan, businesses can ensure that they’re messaging consistently and in a way that’s aligned with their overall goals.
Why Is a Marketing Plan Important?
A marketing plan is important because it can help you test and validate your message, better manage your resources and maintain a clear, consistent voice. It also serves as a way for you to grow your audience and align your efforts with overall business goals.
Marketing Plan Template
Dive in with our free template.
1. Message Testing and Validation
A marketing plan forces you to focus. What are you going to say, and who are you going to say it to?
If, after a certain amount of time spent delivering your message to your target audience, you aren’t seeing the desired results, you’ll know it’s time for a new approach. And you have two options:
- Try the same message with a new audience; or
- Try a new message with the same audience.
Without a marketing plan, your options wouldn’t be so cut and dried. You’d probably be putting out a lot of different messages to a lot of different audiences, and it would be really hard to identify the root cause of your problem.
But when you have a plan guiding you, it’s a lot easier to iterate on your message and test your audience until you find the right fit. Which leads to the next point…
2. Efficient Resource Management
Marketing teams at startups are small and don’t have a lot of resources. There should always be room to experiment, but at the same time, they can’t afford to keep throwing things at the proverbial wall and hoping something sticks.
Having a plan helps ensure you’re identifying marketing activities that work and doubling down on them to drive your business forward.
3. Clarity and Consistency
A key component of your marketing plan should be a messaging hierarchy, which forces founders and their executive teams to get their company story out of their heads and commit it to writing.
By clearly articulating this core set of values company-wide, you’re creating a strong storytelling foundation. You’re ensuring that everyone is saying the same thing and speaking in the same language. And that makes it so much easier for customers to understand what you do and why they should buy from you.
4. Audience Growth
Audience growth is a natural byproduct of consistently distributing a proven message to a well-defined market — an approach we call drumbeat marketing. By creating helpful, unique content that’s optimized for search, you can drive more organic traffic to your website. By delivering your message in new ways over and over again on social media, you can attract more followers.
Your marketing plan can also lay out more explicit strategies and tactics for growing your audience, such as paid social media and other forms of advertising, link building, guest posting and more.
5. Business Alignment
As a marketer it’s easy to get caught up in the latest trends, tools and platforms. And again, while it’s important to keep up with what’s going on in the industry, you only have so many hours in the day. The core of your work should be dedicated to activities that align with your company’s overall goals.
A marketing plan articulates those goals and marketing’s role in achieving them. If you’re focused on increasing organic traffic, but none of that traffic is converting into leads, and lead generation is one of your company’s main goals, that’s a problem.
Create Your Marketing Plan
A marketing plan can help you test and validate your message, efficiently manage resources, develop a consistent voice, grow your audience and achieve alignment with broader business goals.
Now that you understand the importance of a marketing plan, it’s time to create your own. Get started with our free template.