The First Step of Your Marketing Plan

Up Arrows Growth Marketing

He had spent years working in the business and not enough time working on the business. I didn’t have any magic formula or special insight, I just asked him questions that got him thinking.

Soon he discovered he needed clarity, focus, and a clear direction for his role in his business as well as where his business was headed as a whole.

This may sound simple and straightforward, but you see, we were supposed to be meeting to discuss marketing plans not business goals and the structure needed to achieve them.

Over and over again we see individuals trying to put the cart before the horse. Shoot, we’ve even done it. They feel the push to get out into the market. They hear all the great pitches about getting ahead in promotion and advertising.

Very few voices, however, are saying “Wait a minute, do you have a plan to manage the growth of your business when it happens? Where do you want to take your business, service, or product?”.

So small business owners rush around trying to implement promotions and advertising, while managing company reputation, operations, and in many cases performing their core services on top of it all. They end up tired, frustrated and at a loss when their marketing plans flop or take them to places they never wanted to be.

Talk About Goals

Plain and simple, a marketing plan should never precede a business plan. It is a formula for frustration.

Without defining your business’ future, a marketing plan doesn’t really have anything to market; nothing to drive it. It is just a series of promotional ideas and techniques, a cart, but not the horse.

Your first step to investing in marketing is to clearly define your version of business success along with a list of short and long term business goals.

Now before you stop reading, thinking you have no time to create a business plan, you need to know your plan doesn’t have to be huge, full of graphs, income projections or lengthy descriptions. Your plan can be simple!

a marketing plan should never precede a business plan

Discovery Questions

  • What is your definition of success?
  • How big do you want to grow?
  • What role do you want to play in your company?
  • Will you allow your role to evolve and change over time?
  • What are your business goals? (short and long term)

Examples of Short and Long Term Business Goals

  • defining your business structure, writing job descriptions, and expanding your team size to a certain number by a certain date
  • a specific amount for monthly, quarterly, and annual revenue
  • offering a new service or product
  • opening a new location

Pro Tips

  • dream and think big
  • consider what you want to feel when you reach success
  • consider where you are now as well where you want to be in your personal life, i.e. a parent, travel, volunteerism
  • remember that goals can be measured
  • get input from others

Don’t Forget!

  • Write down your plan and keep it where you can see it!
  • Marketing conditions are always changing, so be flexible and adapt as needed.