If your marketing efforts don’t match your business plan, you’re going to run into trouble. As you create your marketing plan, it’s important to refer to your business plan to ensure that you are living up to your vision, mission, goals and objectives.
Your business plan should include the overall strategy for your business. This includes all aspects from finances, markets, sales, products, services, operations and marketing. Your marketing plan takes the marketing portion a step further and outlines exactly your strategy to penetrate social media, content marketing, pay-per-click marketing or whatever marketing you plan to engage in.
Both your business plan and marketing plan help you:
* Establish Your Identity as a Business – In other words, they help create a cohesive brand across all channels. Ensure that your marketing matches the mission statement within your business plan, and you’ll stay in line of your business plan.
* Conduct a SWOT Analysis – When you create your business plan you’ll do a SWOT analysis. What this does is establish what the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are for your business. You can use this information in your marketing plan to address these issues.
* Predict Consumer Behavior – Doing the work to create a complete business and marketing plan will identify potential customer behavior in advance of your marketing plan. If you do your homework right, your marketing plan will work as you suspect.
* Understand Your Cash Flow – Creating your business and marketing plan will help you understand your cash flow so that you can create a good marketing budget. Your cash flow is an important consideration when developing a marketing plan.
* Set a Realistic Marketing Budget – When you truly understand your business, the opportunities your business offers, and your market, you’ll be able to set a more realistic marketing budget that helps you reach your goals.
* Set Goals and Objectives – Based on your analysis and established budget, set goals and objectives for your marketing efforts based on the goals and objectives you set in your business plan. If you stated in your business plan that it would take five years to reach a certain dollar figure per year, is your marketing helping you reach that goal?
* Establish Your Strategy – With the information you’ve gathered, narrow your focus to a specific target audience who needs, wants and desires what you have to offer. Ensure that your marketing efforts, while aligning with your business plan, also happen where your customers are.
* Measure If You’re Meeting Set Goals – The goals you set should be measurable and you should have a mechanism in place to test whether or not you’re meeting those goals. Be very specific when you set goals so that you can have a number in place that defines success for you.
* Review, Rethink, Revise – The good thing about testing and measuring is that you can change midstream and stop doing something that isn’t working at all, and do more of what is working. This is especially true when marketing online. That’s what’s so great about online marketing; you’re not trapped into a marketing plan that isn’t working.
That was the long answer to the question; Do your marketing efforts support your business plan? The short answer is that they need to. If they don’t, you need to rethink both your business plan and your marketing plan in order to craft a successful result from both.