Marketing Planning Acid Test

As stated previously in this blog, Wikipedia defines a marketing plan as a “written document that details the actions necessary to achieve one or more marketing objectives.”

If you follow the standard layout for a Marketing Plan it must:

  1. Describe and explain the current situation
  2. Specify the expected results (objectives)
  3. Identify the resources that will be needed (including financing, time, and skills)
  4. Describe the actions that will need to be taken to achieve the objective(s)
  5. Devise a method of monitoring results and adjusting the plan where necessary

And this is probably why so many people start a business without a marketing plan. In the absence of a formal marketing plan anyone in a faltering business or thinking of starting a business has to be realistic about their prospects. Here are a few hard questions you need to answer if you are starting a business or want to improve your business. Think of it as an acid test for success:

Acid Test

  1. Does this plan make good business sense to anyone other than my family and friends?
  2. Do we know where we are spending our time and money?
  3. Is there enough information to prove to a banker or investor we are uniquely qualified to start this business?
  4. Is our plan made up of useful and relevant information or are the pages fleshed out with filler and unrelated information?
  5. What are our revenue goals by day, week, and month?
  6. What is the realistic time frame to achieve our revenue goals?
  7. What is Plan B if our business is growing slower than we planned?
  8. How much money will we need each month for our marketing?
  9. Do we have enough money to pay all the bills until we are in positive cash flow?
  10. Is our marketing and sales process the right one for this business or service or is it the one we know best?
  11. Where will our first customers come from?
  12. How will we keep them coming back?
  13. Is there any low hanging fruit that we should “pick” for fast results?
  14. How will we know when our marketing and sales strategies need modifying or improving?
  15. How much do we need to invest to reach or exceed our expected results?
  16. Why have other companies failed doing the same thing in the past?
  17. What are our competitors doing?
  18. What specific strategies will we use lead generation? For client retention? etc
  19. How do the strategies in our marketing mix each contribute to us reaching our revenue goals?
  20. What implementation pitfalls must we avoid?
  21. How do we measure the effectiveness of our marketing and sales?
  22. How will we measure and improve results continuously over time?
  23. If we are successful do we have the infrastructure to to deliver the results we promise?
  24. If we don’t start this business what will our potential customers do to get what we are planning to do?
  25. Are we doing everything we can do to make this business a success?
  26. What’s missing?

While this is not the most comprehensive list ever published I wish I had followed my own advice a few failed ventures ago. If you need help determining of your marketing plan is viable I am only a phone call or email away.

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