Lately, I’m hearing my prospects describe the components of a marketing plan as equivalent to what I would call a media plan or more simply a social media calendar. Granted, I know in many free business plan templates found on the Internet, that’s how a marketing plan is presented. They’ve added a list of tactics and suggest that the new business pick a few and use them. This is a total disservice to the person planning.
You might as well throw spaghetti at the wall!
If you aren’t clear on your marketing components, and you don’t have a clear brand strategy with key branding messaging, then even your social media calendar is going to be haphazard. Ultimately, it will be a waste of time and energy.
According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), the following are their current definitions of ‘marketing’ and ‘marketing research’:
Definition of Marketing
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved 2017)
Definition of Marketing Research
Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information—information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications. (Approved 2017)
Hmm, I don’t see Facebook or LinkedIn listed. Do you know why? Because they are tools and the tools change. What used to be accomplished with an ad in the phone book has been replaced with a website. Cavemen drew on cave walls, we use skywriters and billboards to communicate. Besides that, the tools are irrelevant if the message was exchanged. The words ‘promote’ or ‘promotion’ aren’t included either.
In a marketing plan, I incorporate the findings of the marketing research, at any scale, and create a plan that helps you reach your business or operational goals. After we have set the outline, then we create a calendar for promotion.
A source of discovery
In fact, the process of creating a marketing plan is a source of discovery. You must dive deep and don’t start promoting your business until you understand it thoroughly. Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
You’ll know that you don’t really understand it when people (like me) ask you questions you can’t answer.
This is why I am so adamant about the 4Ps of the Marketing Mix. You have to know these for your business with the rationale behind them before you can enact a plan that will be effective.
If you are interested in implementing a strategic, effective, marketing plan, then drop me a line by clicking here.
Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. She recently published Laws of Promotion. The 50-page promotional guide for small businesses and local nonprofits is available now on Amazon.