Business and marketing managers in small to medium-sized companies often develop marketing tactics on a just-in-time or as-needed basis. This may produce the sales and profitability results sought in the early years, but is likely not optimal. At some point sales and market share may plateau, or worse, decline. The path to greater sales and profitability is a simple, well-thought-out marketing plan. What are the seven ways companies without marketing plans sabotage their success?
1. Reactive marketing . Managers tend to react to market needs as they occur rather than anticipating and planning for them. This produces a last-minute frenzy of activity surrounding events such as trade shows and holiday promotions. It does not, however, produce maximum results.
2. Not finishing marketing materials due to fire drills . Some advertisements, direct response letters and more begin their creation based on the "idea of the day" but are never finished because another fire drill takes priority.
3. Marketing materials that are weak performers . Brochures, web pages and other materials created without proper planning often don't include the most effective copy, artwork or format. Therefore, they don't work as hard as they should.
4. Economies are not realized . Economies from repurposing copy or artwork from, for example, a catalog and web page are rarely realized.
5. Brand consistency is lost . Consistency of timing and marketing messages is lost, undermining brand awareness and preference.
6. Key initiatives go unfunded . Time and money dry up before some important initiatives, such as a new website or merchandising system, have been funded or resourced.
7. Departmental efforts uncoordinated in supporting campaigns . Because of poor communications between marketing, sales, customer service and other departments as promotions are rushed to market, the necessary support is lacking to make a marketing initiative a success.
Marketing plans help prevent these problems by:
1. Using time and money more efficiently.
2. Assuring consistency in timing and messages.
3. Making organizations more responsive to the market.
4. Enhancing internal communications.