5 Ways Your Marketing Plan Should Link To Your Business Plan
In today’s era of entrepreneurism and start-ups, some (alleged) business mavericks advocate against formal business planning, believing that it stifles creativity and innovation.
But as thousands of case studies illustrate, almost all successful businesses are in fact operating with a very keen sense of an overall strategy, one that identifies the business’s purpose, products, assets and goals.
Strategy Is About More Than Just Survival:
If your business has no long-term plan besides “continue to make payroll”, it’s probably time to step back and invest some thought and energy into mapping out a roadmap for your short-term and long-term future.
Formats for business plans vary widely, but one constant is this: Your marketing plan and your overall business plan should be very close friends.
Think of it like this: Let’s say your business plan is a little kid trying to roll a ball up to the top of a hill. If he’s asked his friend to help him, then that friend needs to get behind him and provide support and encouragement to keep the ball moving, along with backup for the times the ball rolls backwards. If the friend is on another hill doing something else, with little understanding of why he’s doing it, then neither child is going to very successful at their respective endeavors.
If you’re ready for your business plan and your marketing plan to become friends, the following offers a quick checklist of some of the most important ways they should link together:
Synchronicity of short and long-term goals
A marketing strategy, and especially a marketing plan, should support and mirror a business’s short and long-term goals, especially as they relate to sales goals, product development, and overall growth or expansion of the organization.
Management of resources
A well-written business plan will allocate specific resources, both fiscal and otherwise, to each business function. The marketing plan should not only give consideration to wise stewardship of the resources allocated for marketing and advertising, but to how the marketing function is going to support the development of further resources (in the form of increased sales or revenue).
Guardianship of your business’s products and services
Obviously, the marketing plan should outline marketing strategy and tactics that promote the products and services identified in the business plan. But it should also describe a plan for capturing ongoing customer feedback and evaluation for your company’s primary offerings, as well as the marketing message strategy designed to protect the integrity of your signature products and services.
Identification of customers and competition
This can include detailed psycho-demographic profiles of the customer segments and chief competitors identified in your business plan, including their geographic locations, “buy buttons”, needs and motivations, weaknesses and assets.
Support of internal functions
Many internal functions, like human resources and product development, will need direction (if not full service execution) in terms of specialized, branded messages and graphics – which are tied to the customer-facing branding for your organization – that support activities like employee recruitment, packaging, and the creation of internal publications.
We love strategy as much as we love data. Contact MindEcology if you’d like to talk more about taking your marketing to the next level.