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Does your business have a formal Marketing Plan?

Less than 10% of NZ SMBs (small and medium businesses) have any formal or written document for their marketing strategy based on our internal research. This is the rather startling anecdotal evidence we have found over the past 12 months working with NZ businesses. It is a snapshot of the status quo. And is disturbing to say the least, for both the country and of course business.


After 35 years of working overseas based out of the UK, Middle East, Africa, and Asia, it is hard to believe so many NZ SMBs turn up to work each day/week/month/year without a formal plan of where their business is going, how they will get there and what they want to achieve.


We also discovered the majority of companies do not know whether or not their advertising and marketing activities provide a return on investment. This is perhaps more understandable as we have moved to digital advertising and every dollar should be measured.


The third surprising discovery was that less than 10 % of owners have any plan to prepare, sell and exit their business.


Small wonder we don't rank in the world's most competitive countries.


If we want to build a stronger, more secure future and achieve a profitable exit from your business you need to up your game. It starts with the plan. No different to an architect designing a building.


You need a formal marketing plan and strategy regardless of size or industry. It provides a structured and organised approach to marketing and advertising, allowing companies to align their activities with their desired outcome. Otherwise, the business will be disjointed and certainly not maximise potential. Or worse.


Here are reasons why having a formal marketing plan is important, underlining the word formal:


1. Clear direction and focus: A marketing plan helps define clear goals and objectives for the business. Perhaps for some businesses it is the first time they have really thought about their end game. It outlines the strategies and tactics to achieve goals. The plan also ensures everyone involved is on the same page and working towards a common vision, staff and professional consultants alike.


2. Resource allocation: With a marketing plan in place, companies can allocate their resources (time, money, and manpower) more effectively. It ensures that resources are directed towards the most impactful marketing activities, maximising the return on investment.


3. Target audience identification: A marketing plan helps identify and understand the target audience. This knowledge is essential for tailoring advertising messages and campaigns to resonate with potential customers, leading to higher conversion rates.


4. Competitive advantage: A well-crafted marketing plan takes competitors into account and analyzes their strengths and weaknesses. By understanding the competitive landscape, businesses can position themselves more effectively and differentiate their offerings.


5. Adaptation and flexibility: While a marketing plan provides a structured approach, it should also allow for adaptability in a dynamic business environment. The landscape always moves. Regular reviews and updates enable companies to respond to changes in the market and customer preferences.


Key components you should include in your marketing plan:


1. Executive Summary: A concise overview of the marketing plan, highlighting key goals, strategies, and expected outcomes. not corporate-speak but a common sense overview of what lies ahead.


2. Situation Analysis: An assessment of the company's internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external opportunities and threats in the market. This involves a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).


3. Target Market: A detailed description of the ideal customer, including demographics, psychographics, and buying behaviors.


4. Marketing Objectives: Clear, measurable, and time-bound goals that align with the overall business objectives.


5. Positioning and Differentiation: How the company intends to position itself in the market and how it stands out from competitors.


6. Marketing Strategies: Broad approaches that will be used to achieve the marketing objectives. This could include product development, pricing, distribution, promotion, and branding strategies.


7. Marketing Tactics: Specific action plans and campaigns designed to implement the marketing strategies. This may include advertising, content marketing, social media, SEO, events, etc.


8. Budget and Resources: Allocation of financial and human resources to various marketing initiatives.


9. Implementation Plan: A timeline and responsibilities for executing the marketing tactics.


10. Monitoring and Evaluation: Metrics and methods for tracking the performance of marketing activities and the overall success of the plan.


11. Contingency Plan: Plans to address potential challenges or unexpected events that may arise during the execution of the marketing plan.


By having a well-thought-out and documented marketing plan, businesses can enhance their marketing efforts, better connect with their target audience, and ultimately improve their chances of success in the market.

In response to this gap, DigitalxMarketing developed a Business Owner/Marketing Executive planning day program.


For your business to succeed and grow you will need a marketing strategy aligned to your overarching business objectives and relevant to your business model, products, and services. It doesn't matter how good your creativity is, if it is heading in the wrong direction then it will not drive the results you are looking for.


Our Business Owner/Marketer planning day has been developed for busy entrepreneur business owners/marketers who want a fast and effective way to focus on key objectives and priorities for the next 12 months. It is designed to challenge your thinking and deliver realistic goals. It is delivered as a 1 day workshop.


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