What Happens When You Don’t Have a Plan

marketing fail

Not having a plan will lead to a marketing fail.

Yesterday, while I was contemplating what I would write about for today’s post, I had a telephone call from an associate who was contacting me to pass on a referral. While discussing what the referral was looking for, the conversation unfolded to a general discussion about how a startup gets business. My associate stated, “they just need to hire a sales person and have them pound pavement.”

So now I’ll tell you why that response is a marketing fail.

Don’t get me wrong! A salesperson can be one of the most valuable assets a company has. But simply having a salesperson on your team is not the answer to effective marketing.

Let’s set the scenario.

You’ve just started your brand new business. You’ve opened shop, got your phones in place, and have hired your salesperson. And now, understandably, you expect the salesperson to generate sales for your business. But have you equipped your salesperson with the tools achieve success?

Whether you are starting a new business or running an established business, you have to make sure that you have a detailed roadmap if you expect to arrive at your destination. Simply put, if you expect to get from A to B, you have to consider all of the potholes and signposts along the way.

There seems to be some resistance to the requirement of a business plan from some people these days. Some of the “newer thinking” believes that you only need a written business plan if you are looking for financial support or investment. I would argue that, whether we apply the formal term of “plan” or not, we actually make a plan for everything we do in life.

For example, when you’re going to the grocery store, more often than not you have a list of items that you need – or at least an idea of why you are there. Or… you’re going to take a vacation. Most people don’t just spin the wheel and jump on a plane to the destination that showed up without planning for it.

If these types of every day events require a plan, why should something as important as running your business not need a plan?

So, back to our salesman.

When you created your business plan, presumably you ensured that you have gone through all of the steps, including market research. A large part of any business plan talks to the issue of who you will sell your products or services to, and how this will be achieved. This is the stepping stone for the fleshing out of a more detailed, longer-term marketing strategy.

The reason why so many people claim that “marketing doesn’t work” or “marketing is a waste of money”, is simply because they are doing what I term “ad hoc marketing”, which I wrote about in greater detail in an earlier post.

Essentially, ad hoc marketing is when someone makes a decision to apply a marketing tool without ensuring that it is a cohesive part of a larger plan. Throwing a website up without defining the purpose and the structure. Putting together a brochure without ensuring that the design, layout and content are appropriate for your audience. Sending a salesperson door-to-door without the appropriate materials to support their sales efforts. These are all examples of ad hoc marketing.

Make sure that you are not jumping into the “ad hoc marketing pool”. If you do, I can guarantee you that you will be dissatisfied with your results and will spend money needlessly, with little to no chance of a return on your investment.

Take the time to create an appropriate marketing strategy and review it on a regular basis to ensure that it is meeting your needs as your company grows. And, don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t have the time or the expertise to develop your marketing strategy, if this is the case. It’s better to bring in a consultant to help you develop this strategy and pay them once, than to struggle with your marketing, paying over and over again for things that just aren’t working.

Until next time…

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