Business owners often get caught in the flow of marketing and sales once their campaigns begin, and momentum takes over from there. While that works great for some companies, planning your marketing gives your team a baseline for everyone to come back to and follow. Doing so becomes especially important when business ebbs and flows in unpredictable ways like it almost always does for companies large and small.
Lays Out a Path to Build Momentum
Devising an annual marketing plan is immensely helpful because it lets you determine which campaigns to run in advance, making it easier to implement consistent messaging and materials all year long. Consistency in messaging and brand image is key to brand recognition among potential customers. Your marketing campaigns across all of your channels must remain recognizable enough to be associated with one another.
Although it's not advisable to use the same ads on each marketing channel, you can save plenty of marketing dollars by creating a plan to tailor your messaging to different mediums for the greatest return on investment. Planning also helps you know who you're reaching and how you're reaching them by looking at data and analytics from past campaigns. You can use this information to understand what went well and what didn't in past campaigns, which can help you gradually work toward ad optimization.
Launching a marketing campaign without a thorough plan casts a wide net, hoping to catch a random fish. You may strike gold and bring in many customers by sheer luck but using the proper bait attracts those most likely interested in your offerings gets you the most for your marketing dollars.
Provides a Baseline to Grow Revenue
Marketing grows revenue by recruiting new and existing customers to your store or website. Having a thought-out marketing plan helps your company capitalize on trends, seasons, and other time-appropriate events. Creating a specific marketing campaign around the holidays, for example, can help businesses grow their revenue substantially in a short amount of time toward the end of the year.
Although seasons and trends come and go, the most reliable marketing methods largely stay the same. Cater your marketing strategies, such as content and email marketing, to align with your brand's permanent or seasonal messaging. Content and email marketing tend to be more stable in the long term, while social media are often more volatile as it reacts to general trends. Social media is a less tangible medium than email and content marketing since you rely on other companies to provide your marketing means. You have more ownership over your content lists from email and content, offering more stability than social media followers.
Each of these marketing mediums can give you critical insights into what drives traffic and sales, whether that's calls to action on blog posts, discount coupons in their inbox, or promotions on social media.
Saves Money by Helping You Budget
Email, content, and social media marketing campaigns can kick off with a relatively low startup cost, but it's all-too-tempting to keep pushing those campaigns further once you see great results. When businesses don't have a solid marketing plan, they often fall into the trap of pushing campaigns beyond their limit. However, a detailed outline can help you keep track of metrics and adjust course while sticking to a strict marketing budget throughout the year.
A marketing plan doesn't set everything in stone, so you will still have a degree of flexibility about where to spend your marketing money if things don't turn out as planned. If you thought social media would be the most successful, but email turns out to generate far more engagement, you should shift some of your social media funds to email marketing and keep that momentum going.
It's hard to make these pivots to increase marketing ROI if you don't have a base plan to begin with that helps you see the bigger picture of your marketing campaigns throughout the whole year.
Lowers Stress by Keeping You on Track
Marketing is inherently stressful, but it becomes downright overwhelming when you must scramble to create one at the last minute. Thinking about your marketing plan well ahead of time gives you a chance to mull over the basic idea and details, which can help you create more original and eye-catching campaigns.
Planned marketing materials are almost always higher quality and more effective than those thrown together on a whim because customers value materials that fill their niche and resonate with them on a deeper level. It's hard to do that when you haven't given yourself enough time to be strategic.
Planning is Worth the Investment
Making a marketing plan does take more time upfront than waiting and creating marketing plans on the fly. This time, however, is an investment that pays off significantly in the long run, as your campaigns will be more thought out, higher quality, and more attractive to potential customers. Planning helps you get more bang for your marketing dollars.