Why ‘Just Do It’ Doesn’t Work in Marketing: The Importance of Planning

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Why ‘Just Do It’ Doesn’t Work in Marketing: The Importance of Planning

“Just do it” may be great advice if you want to start exercising (thanks, Nike!), but it’s terrible if you need to promote your business. Yet, so many business owners jump right into marketing and promotion without taking the time to create a plan. Or, we get excited by a new marketing channel (TikTok) or idea (ice bucket challenge) and jump in without thinking about whether this new shiny thing is actually going to work for the business.

Don’t do it. Build a marketing plan first. Successful marketing requires careful and strategic thinking. While the “just do it” mentality might work for some life decisions, when it comes to promoting your business, a haphazard approach can lead to wasted resources and missed opportunities. Your customer’s attention is divided among countless channels and distractions. They are inundated with messaging and content every second of the day.

You need a structured approach, namely a comprehensive marketing plan. Having a well-thought-out marketing plan is essential for showing up where your customers are, standing out, grabbing their attention, and engaging them in a meaningful and memorable way.

Your Marketing Roadmap

A marketing plan is a strategic document that describes your business’s marketing goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. It becomes your roadmap for all marketing efforts and provides a structured approach to achieving your business goals. A comprehensive marketing plan typically includes all the critical components needed to work together to guide your marketing efforts.

While the specific sections of a marketing plan may vary based on the nature of your business and your goals, there are some that are vital to success.

What’s Included in a Marketing Plan?

Executive Summary

A concise overview of the entire marketing plan, summarizing key objectives, strategies, and anticipated outcomes.

SWOT Analysis

Assess the current market environment, including analyzing your target market, competition, industry trends, and any internal or external factors that may impact your marketing efforts. Categorize each as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats.

Target Market Personas

Profiles and descriptions of your target audience or market segments to focus your marketing activities. This involves defining customer demographics, psychographics, behaviors, and needs. The more specific your customer segments, the more focused the rest of your marketing plan will be.

Marketing Goals and Objectives

Develop clear and measurable marketing goals that align with your overall business goals. Objectives are tactical metrics that drive you towards your goals. Set objectives for overall campaigns and individual marketing channels. All goals and objectives should be specific, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Marketing Strategies

Strategies are your high-level approaches to achieving the marketing objectives. This may include product positioning, pricing strategies, distribution channels, promotional campaigns, and digital marketing strategies.

Marketing Tactics

Tactics are detailed action plans outlining specific activities and initiatives to implement your marketing strategies. This may include advertising campaigns, content marketing, social media management, email marketing, SEO, events, partnerships, and more. There is no need to be on every social media platform. Choose the platforms your target audiences are using.

Budget Allocation

An allocation of resources and budget to support the marketing initiatives. This includes determining the budget for each marketing activity and allocating funds accordingly. It also includes allocating your time, tools, and external partners, if needed.

Implementation Plan

A timeline or schedule that outlines the specific tasks, responsibilities, and deadlines for executing the marketing tactics. This ensures that your marketing activities are carried out in a coordinated and timely manner.

Performance Measurement

The establishment of KPIs to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. This may include metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, lead generation, conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, customer retention rates, and ROI. Remember, every metric should roll up to one of your marketing goals.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Regular monitoring and evaluation of your marketing activities to assess their performance, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments to the plan as needed.

Marketing Calendar

A calendar or timeline that outlines the schedule of your marketing activities, campaigns, and milestones over a specific period, such as monthly, quarterly, or yearly. This calendar will keep you organized, create deadlines for content creation and campaign launches, and ensure that your marketing messages are not overlapping or causing customer confusion.

Content Calendar

A content marketing calendar could be incorporated into your marketing calendar or stand-alone. Your content calendar organizes the content of your marketing campaigns in date order, starting at ideation and documenting every step of the project through final analysis. The documented campaign information should include your target audience(s), the forms of content and platforms you are using, the messaging and design of each piece of content, and the metrics you’ll use to evaluate each campaign.

Be Ready to Flex as Needed

It’s important to note that your marketing plan should be a dynamic document that evolves and adapts to changing market conditions, customer needs, and business objectives. Even with careful planning, there will be times when unexpected events or unanticipated market shifts may require you to change course. Regular review, analysis, and adjustments will help you enhance your strategies. You’ll find your customers where they are, when they need you, and engage with them more meaningfully.

While the temptation to dive headfirst into marketing initiatives without a plan may be strong, resist the urge. Here’s a better catchphrase for marketing…

Planning is the backbone of successful marketing

Strategy and planning empower you to anticipate challenges, capitalize on your strengths, and adapt to your customer’s needs. It provides direction, purpose, and clarity to every action taken, ensuring that efforts are aligned with overarching goals and objectives. Without a well-defined strategy and a meticulously crafted plan, you may find yourself making decisions aimlessly, wasting resources, letting your competitors grab your customer’s attention, and missing out on engaging new customers.

Remember, successful marketing is not about blindly following trends or chasing shiny new strategies; it’s about thoughtful planning, strategic execution, and continuous adaptation to meet the evolving needs of your audience. A well-defined marketing plan keeps you focused and provides a structured approach to marketing. You’ll make better-informed decisions on your marketing efforts and increase your chances of achieving success in a competitive marketplace.

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