Many businesses miss out on many (perhaps most) of the advantages of marketing because they don’t realise that marketing is a process.  They think marketing is about social media. Or emails.

It isn’t.

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” This is the definition from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

It is a way of putting your customers at the centre of your planning.  A way of aligning your business and your communications to how you can help your customers to solve their problems or meet their aspirations.

This is the key to profitable growth and by researching and writing a marketing plan you will create an action plan to achieve this.

There is a distinction between marketing and marketing communications that many businesses miss.

A marketing plan starts upstream.  Way before you post on social media, send an email or design your website.

It’s about doing some marketing THINKING before you do your marketing communicating.  This is how you get a much better return on the investment you make on your marketing communications.

There are 7 key elements to marketing – all with the customer at the centre of them.  Promotion otherwise known as communication is just one of those elements.

If you miss out on the other 6 or if you don’t have your ideal customers at the heart of your thinking you are missing out on potential sales.

This is why you need a marketing plan.

The 7 elements of marketing (also known as the 7 Ps):

  1. Your product or service
  2. Your price/profitability
  3. Your route to market (place)
  4. Your people
  5. Your process
  6. Your physical evidence
  7. Your promotions < what people think of as marketing

You must also KNOW your customers REALLY well and have a process in place for understanding them and your marketing plan doesn’t stop or start there though. It includes internal analysis (you MUST know your numbers), it includes your goals, it includes building your marketing pillars, and how to measure your success.

A marketing plan is your route map to success.  It tells you how to achieve your goals.  In order to do this it first uncovers where you are now . . only then can you possibly discover exactly how to get to where you want to be.

Imagine trying to give someone directions if you don’t know where they are coming from.  That is what it is like if you are working in a business with no marketing plan.  You can only guess what might be the right direction.

Stop the guesswork and increase your response rate.

Fill the Gap Marketing has been successfully researching, writing, and implementing marketing plans for small and medium businesses for 12 years.