Ready. Set. Grow.

And we’re off! The New Year celebrations are in our rear view mirrors and now we must turn our attention back to driving revenue growth. My passion is helping business owners grow their companies, so let me ask you two quick questions. Do you have a specific revenue goal for 2014 or are you going to accept whatever happens? If you do have a specific revenue goal, how are you going to achieve it?

To be sure, growth requires change. It has often been said, if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting. So, if growing revenue is your business objective, it will be necessary to do new things. Also, the more growth you want to achieve, the more change you need to embrace. This is true because your customers change, customer’s demands change, technology is rapidly changing, your industry is changing, and the economy is changing.

 

Since one of the constant things in business is dealing with continuous change, your business will benefit immensely from having a reliable method to manage all of this change year after year. An effective and proven method for managing change and growing revenues is the strategic marketing plan.

 

What is a Strategic Marketing Plan?

A strategic marketing plan is a written document produced after a process of performance review, research, analysis and disciplined thinking has been conducted for a particular organization. This includes examining the business’s clients, products/services, competitors, and their position within the industry. The plan communicates the objectives, strategies, tactics and budgets that the leaders have decided upon for a particular time period in light of their resources, skills, and experience.

In practice, strategic marketing plans vary in their content, time frame, and degree of detail based on a number of factors including the size and type of business, available financial resources, and the time constraints faced when assembling it. Many companies hire outside consultants to assist them with creating their plan because they benefit from the consultant’s experience, insights, perspective and knowledge. In addition, most companies simply don’t have the time or expertise to do it all by themselves.

 

The Benefits of Having a Strategic Marketing Plan

For any business, regardless of size, having a strategic marketing plan provides clarity and direction on the single most important ingredient for growth; how to get and keep more customers. It serves as a road map to drive rapid, predictable and more profitable revenue growth. Having a road map keeps leaders on track towards reaching their goals and it equips them to make better decisions, quicker and more consistently. It also helps businesses avoid tempting distractions that take them away from their core business, vision or mission.

Another significant benefit is that business owners can save a lot of money. That’s right, investing in a strategic marketing plan now will pay huge dividends over time because it helps prevent businesses from making a costly mistake: rushing to tactics. Rushing to tactics is a knee-jerk reaction to poor revenue performance. When sales aren’t good, the business looks for a quick fix. The result is spending money on tactics like purchasing more advertising, buying different kinds of advertising, sending out a direct mail campaign, or running a promotion. Perhaps the business also needs a new website, should attend a different trade show, or hire another sales person. While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these tactics; the mistake is made in rushing to execute these tactics before having a strategy in place to inform and direct their implementation. The results of rushing to tactics are often expensive and disappointing.

 

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu, Art of War

 

After you have formulated the best strategies for your business, then you can confidently blend the right combination of marketing tactics together.


The Action Plan

No strategic marketing plan is complete without addressing marketing tactics and budgets. This section is appropriately called the Action Plan. This is the most critical section too, as it outlines exactly how your strategic marketing plan is going to be implemented. I say that an average strategy executed brilliantly will always outperform a brilliant strategy executed poorly. So don’t invest too much time in the formulation phase of your plan at the expense of the implementation phase.

There are so many marketing tactics to consider today from the latest digital marketing tool to professional sales people. But, the only tactics that matter should be those that will cost effectively move enough of your ideal clients completely through their purchase decision making process. That process begins from the time they don’t know your business exists all the way through until they are repeat customers and referring others to do business with you. All of the chosen tactics are blended together and then budgeted in order to implement your strategy and achieve your specific revenue growth objectives.

The larger a business becomes, the more important it is to have a written strategic marketing plan in place and to renew it on an annual basis. The organization that creates, implements, and evaluates the performance of their strategic marketing plan will become a smarter and more dominant competitor in their market. Now, are you ready to grow in 2014?

 

Want To Work On Your Growth Plans?

 
Call: 352-390-6620

 

(This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Innovation Ocala magazine.)

 

Category: Revenue Growth Blog

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