When you're running a business, or charged with converting leads into sales, there are so many competing priorities, whether that's tending to client needs first or handling HR duties or building operational systems.
Often, the first item to get shoved to the back burner is marketing. This is especially the case if your primary source of leads and sales is word-of-mouth and your strong reputation.
We could ask what is lost by pushing marketing into the corner. Instead, however, let's take a look at how formalizing your marketing plan and process--and consistently carving out time to make it a priority--can benefit your business.
Here are 4 powerful benefits to formalizing your marketing plan:
1. Cross-Enterprise Collaboration
When you decide to make marketing a systematic, formal process, team members from across departments need to be involved. Marketing, sales, operations, customer service and IT, among others, should be brought into the fold to collaborate.
By involving the wider team, marketing becomes a team effort rather than one-off ads or email campaigns that often catch non-marketing staff members by surprise.
To build a strong marketing plan you need input from everyone. During the planning process, all voices can be heard and all involved team members have an ownership stake in the plan.
After all, marketing needs to work for the whole business, not just marketing. Collaboration leads to information sharing, better communication and enterprise-wide buy in and participation in the marketing program.
2. Improved Performance from Tracking
If you do everything reactively or as a one-off, it's hard to identify patterns of mediocrity, success or failure. If you don't have a formal marketing strategy and system that is integrated, deliberate and self-reflective, there is no way to know the impact it's having.
This is marketing as an expense rather than as a thoughtful and intentional investment.
A formal, systematized marketing plan and process creates a living document that can be referred to, analyzed and adjusted.
One-off ads, sporadic emails or Facebook ads have no foundational context by which your marketing plan can improve.
Formal marketing planning and a system lays the groundwork for tracking, data analysis and continual improvement. Without this groundwork, you're just throwing spaghetti up against a wall, over and over and over again.
3. Maximize Your Return-On-Investment
If you don't have a formal plan and process, and market ad-hoc, you can't really know what's working, what's flopping or what's working sometimes and with what audience, service or product.
A formal marketing plan and process enables marketing intelligence and awareness through tracking, which, in turn, can direct allocation of funds to areas with the greatest impact and potential for maximized returns.
Reducing wasteful spending and increasing the value of your marketing will not only benefit the business, but it will also increase the probability of winning stronger marketing budgets in the future.
4. Built-in Accountability
Creating a formal marketing plan, involving various stakeholders in the plan development process and building tracking capabilities forces accountability across your departments.
All involved parties provided input and buy-in for the approved marketing plan. Now, staff needs to own their responsibilities and the documented plan and data tracking provides deadlines, goals and benchmarks by which success can be determined.
No one can throw their hands up and say, "I'm not really sure what happened" or "That wasn't my role."
It's there. In a file approved by the team. With numbers and data to back it up.
If you're struggling to formalize your marketing plan and process, or have a plan that might not be having the impact you want, subscribe to our blog.
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