Yesterday I saw a post on a web site that read: "I need help. I have just been promoted to Director of Marketing at my company and have to write a marketing plan. I have no idea how to write a marketing plan."
Seth Godin writes this blog about a friend who is hiring a marketer.
Unfortunately I know that this is one of the underlying problems with people doing marketing - they aren't marketers. Some companies will take a good sales person, or somebody from another department and make them Director of Marketing. You wouldn't make somebody a CFO who had no financial background - why do this with Marketing.
Here's one of my favorite quotes from Peter Drucker:
"The business has two basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs."
This is absolutely true. You can have the greatest product of all time, and if you don't market it properly - it won't sell. Marketing is supremely important to all businesses. You might call it "mission critical".
Unfortunately marketing sometimes gets a bad name - just look at the antics of the marketing department in Dilbert cartoons.
Many people in business follow the aphorism, "build a better mouse-trap and the world will beat a path to your door." The idea is that what you have is so cool, or so different that word of mouth will spread on its own and you'll be carting truckloads of $100 bills to the bank. Unfortunately, many businesses go bankrupt with this type of thinking. It does happen sometimes, but you have a better chance of winning the lottery.
Look at technology companies that have people lining up to buy their products the day they go on sale. They actually start their word of mouth campaigns sometimes a year in advance through press placements, beta testers, and marketing. They spend millions and millions of dollars building buzz - it doesn't just happen on its own.
It's been estimated that 90% of companies don't have a marketing plan and that 84% of marketing plans under-perform. A more fitting aphorism for this is, "If you fail to plan you are planning to fail."
A marketing plan does not have to be a big, complex, 800-page tome written in blood by a team of 50 arcane scientists over 20 years. A marketing plan is 3 things,
- Strategic - it outlines the guiding principles of the company's marketing
- Tactical - it outlines the tools that will be used to market the company
- Organizational - it includes a calendar and a budget
This is a simplification, but that's basically it. There's no need to be afraid of a marketing plan. If you don't know what you're doing - get some help and get a marketing plan that will work for you.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet