5 Reasons NOT To Have a Marketing Plan

Imagine your perfect customers — the ones that will eagerly buy your products or hire you for premium pay. Imagine being able to bring those perfect customers to you and having them buy your products or services not once, but again and again. That’s what an effectively executed marketing plan does. It reaches the people who want what you are offering, convinces them to take action, and keeps them coming back.

Sounds nice, right? So why doesn’t every business have a marketing plan? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you may not:

1. “We had a marketing plan once, but it didn’t work. It isn’t worth the time to put one together.”

No marketing plan will work if you do not work the plan. The planning document is there for business managers to use as a strategic reference throughout the year, as programs in the plan are executed and as other opportunities come along. Any marketing plan that is filed away and forgotten as soon as it’s written is useless.

2. “So-and-so had a marketing plan and it didn’t help his business at all!”

Marketing is a process, not a singular event. A marketing plan is only the first step in that process. It points your business in the right direction by detailing marketing strategies and programs that will move you toward business objectives.

You must execute the programs in your plan so that you can evaluate program success. Rarely does a marketing program work best on the first try. It is up to you to analyze barriers to success, then tweak and tinker until you are getting positive results. If you ignore critical follow-up, most of your marketing programs — whether you have a marketing plan or not — will fail or fall short of their potential for success.

3. “Marketing planning is too hard.”

Writing a marketing plan doesn’t have to be complicated. There are different levels of planning. More intricate marketing planning processes will result in more refined strategies, with better potential for success. But, if you have limited resources, a top-line approach to planning is much better than none at all.

4. “We don’t know how to write a marketing plan.”

There are numerous books, software, “toolbox” resources, and articles that take you step-by-step through the process of creating a marketing plan. Frankly, not knowing how is an excuse, not a reason, to avoid marketing planning.

5. “My business is too small for a marketing plan.”

Sound marketing strategy is critical to small business success, especially new businesses. Statistics vary widely depending on the source, but most reports cite failure rates for small business at 65% — 90%. Knowing ahead of time how you will compete and how you will succeed in your marketplace can dramatically increase your chances of success.

Your marketing plan is a vital key to small business success. If you do not have a current plan, start one today. Your company’s livelihood depends on it.

How to Build Your Twitter Marketing Plan

An ideal Twitter marketing plan is a list of everything that you hope to achieve for your corporation/business using Twitter or any other social network platform. This strategy should include a report of where your Twitter account is today, and where you want it to be in the nearest future, the goals that you want to achieve when that time comes, and the tools that you require so that you can get there. Basically, the more specific you are when developing the strategy, the better you will be when it comes to implementing that plan.

In general, you should try to make your marketing strategy as concise as possible. Avoid making your plan so lofty that it’s unattainable. this plan will not only help you make informed decagon, but it will also help you know whether you are succeeding or falling at Twitter, and believe me you do not want to set yourself up for failure.


The first step towards developing a perfect Twitter marketing strategy is establishing the goals that you hope to achieve after a certain period of time. With these goals, also helps you to know the right actions that you should take, when you feel that your Twitter campaigns are not working your way. Without these objectives, you have no way of gauging your return on investment or proving your success.

The simplest way of kick starting your Twitter marketing plan is writing down at least four Twitter objectives. Remember to ask yourself, what the objective will look like when you start implementing the plan you have, just use this to determine how you are going to move around your strategy and achieve your long term goals. Keep in mind that smart objectives are measurable, specific, attainable and relevant.

Step 2: Conduct a Twitter Review

Before building your Twitter marketing plan, you must examine your current Twitter use and the success it has brought to your business. To do this, you must be ready to check out who have been following your business products or operations via Twitter, ask yourself whether Twitter is the social media platform that the market you are targeting uses, and finally review your Twitter account to see whether it matches your competitor’s accounts.

Once you are done conducting the review, you should know how your business is fairing online, who controls your Twitter account and does it serve the purpose it was intended to? This will help you know the Twitter accounts that need to be updated and those that need to be deleted.

Step 3: Create New or Improve Your Existing Twitter Account

After reviewing your Twitter account, it’s now time to improve your online presence. Create a new account if you feel that your current one is not serving your purpose; just make sure that you integrate your audience and broader objectives. You can also refine the existing Twitter account and update them to fit your current business goals.

Step 4: Get Twitter Inspiration from Clients, Competitors and Leading-Industry Leaders

The main reason you should be on Twitter is because your clients, competitors and other leading business are already there. Your competitor’s presence on social media may not be good to your ears, but one thing that you learn is that there is a wealth of experience in these networks that you can combine into your Twitter marketing plan.

Use Twitter to listen to what your clients want and provide it, this way you will have an edge over your competitors because you will be able to meet your clients at their point of need.

Step 5: Develop a Content Plan

Great, creative and informative content is paramount to succeeding at Twitter. Your Twitter marketing strategy should include a perfect content marketing plan, made of plans for content curation and creation. Also remember to create an editorial calendar.

Step 6: Test and Evaluate Your Twitter Marketing Plan

Testing your Twitter marketing plan regularly will help make the necessary adjustments at the right time. Try tracking your links using utm codes and URL shorteners. Also, you can use Hootsuites Twitter analytics to track the reach of your Twitter campaigns. Analyze and report your success and failures, and adjust your Twitter marketing plan to yield results.

A Marketing Plan Minus Fanfare? What a Concept!

If you are now or ever have been part of a large company or corporation, you are familiar with planning exercises–business planning, financial planning, marketing planning, all sorts of planning. Some of it is done in groups, while some of it is done by individuals. And if it’s done “right,” there will be some kind of document at the end of process, which will either be used as a reference throughout the period the planning covered, or will get put away and never looked at again.

I have a theory that in large enterprises the more “intangible” the plan, the more fanfare goes with it, and the less useful the outcome is. For example:

— A financial plan–with lots of numbers and forecasts–is tangible and trackable; it can be checked and compared with actuals at pretty much any point along the line. This type of plan is invariably prepared by only a handful of people with very little muss or fuss, and is used regularly to track business profit and loss status.

— A business plan tends to be less tangible and trackable. Though there is certainly a financial component, there are also more ephemeral bits–things like goals, say–that are more difficult to check on. This type of plan is usually done by a group of “key” managers in one or more formal (sometimes facilitated) sessions, and may be referred to periodically to take the business pulse.

— A marketing plan is about as intangible as one can get, and it requires creativity, discipline, and commitment to craft trackable elements for it. This type of plan is often accompanied by the blare of trumpets and lots of meetings, and the resulting document is likely to be full color with lots of charts and graphics–and is never used.

Though I’ve oversimplified and generalized these three types of plans, the bottom line is that, in my experience, the marketing planning process in large corporations tends to be a wastefully resource-intensive exercise that doesn’t provide much value to the actual pursuit of the marketing function. There are a lot of flourishing gestures and intense facial expressions, and not a lot of really useful work gets accomplished. No wonder that smaller businesses rarely proactively engage in marketing planning. They don’t see the point.

But hold on.

Isn’t that–pardon the cliché–throwing the baby out with the bath water? Just because marketing planning is ineffective in many cases, does that mean it shouldn’t be done at all?

I say no. In fact, I say that smaller businesses must plan their marketing programs–map out what they need to accomplish and how they will do it–preferably prior to the start of their business year. They need to step back and think creatively about how to use marketing most cost-effectively to meet business objectives, and how marketing can help them gain or retain competitive advantage.

Smaller enterprises cannot afford to waste their resources–either human or fiscal. They cannot afford to pursue ad hoc initiatives that may or may not produce results. And they definitely cannot afford to implement marketing tactics whose results can’t be measured in some way.

A marketing plan does not need a lot of fanfare, facilitated meetings, or fancy graphics to be effective–quite the reverse, in fact. It needs to be a useful reference document that spells out what programs will be pursued and why, and how those programs relate to each other. It also needs to specify how the
effectiveness of the programs will be measured and how often.

Here is an overview of the steps to take to arrive at a useful marketing plan for your business:

Clearly state where you are today. What was your marketing expense for 2004 (assuming you work on a calendar year basis)? What percent of revenue does this represent? What specific programs did you implement? What results did they produce? What does the competitive landscape look like today? How about your market? Have there been changes over the past year that could affect you?

Define your marketing goals. Based on your 2005 business
objectives, what specific marketing goals are appropriate? Clearly state these goals in active terms (e.g., “Participate in five industry trade shows with at least a 20% qualified lead rate,” “Realize at least fifteen media mentions in local and trade press.”).

Identify appropriate marketing tactics. Considering your goals individually and as a whole, what marketing activities are most likely to be successful? Think about how the activities can interrelate to give you the most bang for the buck (e.g., a newsletter that is put on your web site, emailed to your contacts, and printed in hard copy format maximizes your
preparation/publication expense). Also, identify activities or tasks that will require third party assistance (e.g., graphic design, copy writing, or–ahem–4-R Marketing’s services!

Determine how and how often you will measure the effectiveness of your activities. Marketing results can be intangible–how do you know whether your web site leads to sales or whether your trade show exhibit was as effective as it could have been?–but they still need to be measure somehow. Come up with proxy measurements that you have confidence in–the number of hits on a certain web page, for instance, or the number of visitors to your exhibit who stay for more than five minutes–and that you can use to measure the degree to which your activities are hitting the mark in terms of achieving your goals.

That’s basically it. A marketing plan in four pages (more or less). A fifth page might be a marketing budget that encompasses all the activities you have planned; this can serve as another metric to gauge marketing effectiveness.

Now that you have a marketing plan for the year, here’s what to do with it:

— Communicate marketing goals and activities to your staff and be sure to illustrate how they relate to overall business objectives.

— Create and implement a project schedule that spells out at least high level timelines and milestones for your marketing activities. A lot of marketing tasks are long term (some conferences call for papers a year ahead, and trade show planners will want stuff from you months prior to the show date); putting a schedule into play will keep things from falling through the cracks.

— Refer to the plan periodically (once a month? once a quarter?) to see if you are on track relative to the status of the business as a whole. Are your goals still appropriate? Are your activities on track?

— Also periodically, gather and review the metrics you’ve identified for your marketing activities. What do they indicate? Are you getting what you need from your programs, or are changes called for? Tracking marketing metrics gives you the opportunity to modify your activities “midstream” if they aren’t producing results, rather than waiting till the end of the year and realizing you’ve wasted resources on the wrong things.

If you are in any kind of business, no matter how large or small, you do need a marketing plan. But your plan does not need to be accompanied by a herald blowing a trumpet, and does not need to be a huge document with loads of graphics and tables. Create a plan that is concise, actionable, and measurable–and you will have an invaluable tool that will help you grow your
business the way you want to.