It’s true. Most marketing plans aren’t worth the screen they’re written on. Really.
Why is that? It’s because they’re so often poorly researched, based on faulty assumptions and impossible to implement.
If you ask me (you did ask, didn’t you?), I think it’s better not bothering with a marketing plan at all if you’re going to write it just for the sake of being able to say you’ve got one.
If you’re going to write a marketing plan that’s actually worth something, the first thing you need to do is write it for your audience. And no, your bank manager or the local venture capital company don’t count. Your audience is you. The plan has to make sense to you because you’re the one who’ll be using it.
I’ve read plenty of marketing plans in my time and believe me, most of them are over-optimistic and under-realistic.
The rose-colored glasses syndrome starts with the marketing plan books. One of my favorites is a book by Roman G. Hiebing Jr. and Scott W. Cooper. It’s called The One-Day Marketing Plan. I’ve got the Third Edition and on the back cover it says:
Speed to market is the key to success in today’s fiercely competitive marketing arena. Let the One-Day Marketing Plan – filled with helpful forms and checklists along with actual marketing plan templates – show you how to refine your marketing message today and then use the most meaningful tactics to strengthen both your competitive advantage and your bottom line tomorrow.
Yeah, right. The book itself is excellent and does have a lot of very useful insights. But it’s 323 pages long, including the Index. You can’t even read it in a day, much less actually do the research and write the plan. Not unless you’re Super-Somebody-Or Other. And most of us are mere mortals.
So let’s get real. Marketing plans can make or break a business. Let’s give them the respect and attention they deserve.