Why you should plan your marketing

Generally I have two types of client. One type embraces the idea of formalising his/her business by putting processes and structure in place. The other type resists it.

Obviously, how you choose to run your business is none of my business. But what is my business is to provide quality marketing advice to entrepreneurs, and of this I am sure: you should structure your marketing. Marketing that just happens “whenever”, “wherever” and “however”, usually goes nowhere.

Think of marketing as the act of engaging with the market, namely your customer, and whomever they regard as the alternatives (also known as your competitors). Clearly this environment is dynamic. It always changes as the foundations of price, product, place and promotional activity (the 4Ps of marketing) shifts. So how do you know if your marketing is effective given this volatility?

The answer is to keep your end of the equation steady. Put an anchor in place by planning your marketing, and then carefully testing to see if what you’re doing is working.

For example, let’s assume you want to try LinkedIn as a social media tool. The way to do this is not through some haphazard course of actions, in the vain hope of seeing results. Rather you should set a plan in place, something that says how often you are going to be on LinkedIn, what you are going to do there and how you are going to measure success.

If your approach to marketing is fluid, and the market itself is fluid, well…that makes for a lot of liquid just splashing around.

I urge even the smallest businesses to apply some structure to their marketing, but it doesn’t always go down well. Words like strategy, planning and budgeting are often swear words in the anti-corporate environment of the entrepreneurial business. But these same words provide the foundation that allows marketing to work.

You may think marketing is a magic potion, but remember, there is still a recipe involved. Only then can it perform the wonders your business needs.