Don’t Put the Cart In Front of the Horse.
In the first blog of the 3-part series we offered some basic tips to help you select the right marketing agency.
The second blog was all about strategy and how to ensure that the marketing agency understands and aligns your strategy across your business, not just within marketing.
In our third and final blog, our Lifeblood Marketing experts are back to give you more insights into what questions you want answered before you make a commitment.
As the above expression suggests, don’t confuse cause and effect. Apply STRATEGY first, then move on to TACTICS. The right marketing agency won’t misplace the emphasis on tactics, without recognizing the need to build a strong marketing plan first.
The Beginning of Your Marketing Plan
Repeat after us: Marketing plan is NEVER built in a bubble.
The blueprint to your marketing efforts and success is more than just a document that describes a certain number of activities, aimed at certain objectives, and to be completed within a certain time frame.
Your marketing plan should directly reflect your company’s business plan and be built from it. Your business plan is a roadmap of where you are today, what resources and skills you have, and where you want to see your business in one, three, five or more years.
Ideally, you’d have your business plan written down, containing all the details of what your business is about, market analysis, product description, budget, and so on. If that’s not the case, even a quick description written on a napkin is a good start.
And this is where a marketing agency should begin to build on your short- and long-term success. Your VISION of your business’ future.
The Backbone of Your Marketing Plan
Ask yourself these questions when building your business plan
- What are my business goals and priorities?
- What are my revenue targets?
- What are my sales targets?
- What is my sales pipeline?
- What unique features does my product or service have?
- And many more other questions that should be asked
An effective business plan, the backbone of your marketing plan, is built upon the answers to these questions. The more questions you have asked, the more research you have done about the niche your business is in, and the more answers you have, the easier it is to develop the right marketing plan for you.
When you know where your business stands among competitors and customers, you can build an effective marketing strategy to stand out and thrive.
The Temptation to Skip the Marketing Plan (and Experts)
In a world where changes in the market happen fast, it might seem like a bad idea to take the time to build out a marketing plan. Someone else out there might be a step closer to launching or growing a business similar to yours.
We even experience it in our own company. After all, we’re one of the many marketing fish in the pond.
Here’s what we tell ourselves and our clients.
Passion leads to success, and we have no doubt that there are passionate business owners who can find a creative way to get their business going without a rock-solid marketing plan.
But there is always the risk of making errors that might get in the way of long-term success and growth. Not having a marketing plan is like driving in the dark, without a map, and headlights gone out.
Perhaps you paid for a killer ad that wasn’t based on researching your market and customers, and you blew most of your budget with nothing to show for it. Or your ad campaign went well, but your product or service is priced too low and you fail to make a profit.
Perhaps all your marketing efforts are placed on one channel, but your ideal target audience is using a completely different channel. Or you’re all over the place, on every channel, putting out any message you can (often in a not consistent way) to create interest in your product or service. Your efforts will most likely go unnoticed without a carefully crafted and targeted message.
To sum this section up. A well-built marketing plan comes with the confidence that you have all it takes to grow your business. You have the most up-to-date map, and a trusted car that comes with a co-pilot to take you to your destination: SUCCESS.
A marketing plan is the lifeblood for both a startup and established businesses that want to grow their brand.
In our 3-part series, our Lifeblood Marketing experts have shared their knowledge on what you need to ask yourself and your prospect marketing agency before making a commitment.
We hope these tips and insights have been helpful, and are more than happy to answer any questions we haven’t covered yet. Get in touch and let’s talk success!