Explore the benefits of planning before designing and how that results in achieving your business goals. The results are worth it.
By now you’ve heard the saying, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
As we’re in the space of helping you market your business, we like to expand this quote to say “if you fail to have a marketing communication plan, you plan for a journey with no map”.
Lack of planning may excite those who enjoy spontaneity. Long term however, the lack of clarity of activities tied to a clear strategic vision – month to month, week to week & day to day – results in ad hoc outcomes, frustration with lack of direction and never ending last minute projects compromising the quality of your work.
So why not start the new year with a plan? It doesn’t need to be complicated – you can even fit it on one or two pages. What it will do, is provide your business a clear path to success with measures in place to see what worked and what didn’t so you can repeat the activity, or modify and reset for future.
Why should your business have a marketing plan?
A marketing communications (comms) plan should stem from your overall business goals. You need to know why you are committing time, money and resource to a marketing strategy, project or activity. There must be a clear end goal which gives purpose to what you are doing. Without this, you may just be doing for doing sake – rather than choosing where your time, resource and money is best spent for the highest ROI.
What does a marketing comms plan include?
Your plan may include
- Overall business goals
- Marketing goals that connect to your business goals
- Marketing activities required to achieve each goal
- Who will do the activities
- When activities should start and end
- The budgeted cost vs actual cost
- Measurement of success
Having such a plan enables you to schedule your marketing activities each week – including working with your graphic designer on design related projects. Knowing you have a brochure to design in time for a product or service launch, an expo to attend that requires collateral, a product manual ready in time for a conference – means that you can plan in advance and give yourself and your designer enough time to produce great work.
No one can work at their absolute best under pressure all the time and the same goes for business owners, sales and marketing teams and graphic designers.
What happens when you leave graphic design to the last minute?
The risks you face with not planning your design projects in advance include:
- errors possibly being made
- proofing is much longer as you may miss details in the initial briefing
- the conceptual process and quality of design work is compromised when not enough time is not allowed for ideas to develop and be nurtured
- you are not clear on your brief as you haven’t had enough time to think it through, or it’s not tied to a broader strategy
- design projects that require printing may be rushed, and print errors can occur
Benefits of planning
Setting up a clear marketing comms plan will help you and your team:
- schedule your weekly activities
- ensure marketing is a regular part of your working week
- undertake regular progress reviews with your team and individually
- plan for subsequent years & forecasting for budget management
- demonstrate and measure your activities clearly
- work with your graphic design team in advance, allowing time for amazing ideas to flow
- produce design concepts that will be more effective as they are backed by strategy
- manage resource levels
- achieve quality work you will be proud of, with ease and grace
Most importantly, with planning you will be able to ACHIEVE whatever your strategic business and marketing goals are!
“Good luck is the result of good planning”
There’s a time and place to be spontaneous and go on a road trip without a map.
Do yourself and your business a favour – set aside a few hours and start your plan now – the results and peace of mind will be worth it.
What’s your experience with planning your marketing? Share your experience with us in the comments below.