How to make your business a winner

Our Aardvark Marketing Club session this week was about planning – usually a subject guaranteed to put everyone to sleep!
To kick off the session we discussed who in the room already had a business and a marketing plan in place. I was surprised to find that a major high street bank manager, who works with businesses with annual turnovers of between £5 million and £15 million, estimated that only 20% of his customer businesses had a marketing plan. However, he observed that these were his top 20% in terms of performance. Co-incidence? Perhaps not.
So, what’s so wrong with planning? Is it so very difficult? Boring? Unhelpful , perhaps? Why is it that we all know we should plan our marketing but that the vast majority of busineses fail to actually do it? (Incidentally, of the people in the room on Tuesday, 80% hadn’t got a plan either, but perhaps that was why they had come to the session).
Perhaps we all feel, in a world of such rapid and sometimes unpredictable change, planning isn’t necessary because the plan, once written, could rapidly become outdated?
Perhaps it’s because we don’t have clear responsibilities mapped out in the senior management team? If no one takes overall responsibility for marketing activity, it’s easy for things to drift.
It may be that budgeting is such a thorny topic for discussion that it’s easier to place our heads in the sand and leave such divisive topics for another day.
Perhaps it’s just because we are always busy with the everyday delivery of our product or service and that we don’t put ring-fenced time in the diary for important but not urgent tasks, including planning.
So here’s my – rather boring and unglamorous – message. If you’ve never done this before, try a simple marketing plan in 2014.
You’ll find our top tips for successful planning in last week’s blog “Out with the old, in with the new”
Then give yourself a pat on the back – just doing it already puts you in that winning top 20%!
Happy marketing!