I know what you are thinking. “Why do I need a marketing plan? My people know just what they need to do to get things done. My board (and I) come up with new ideas all the time, and having a plan would be pointless.”
Does this ring a bell with you? It does with a lot of business owners and CEOs. A plan reminds you of the key themes you will always talk about to members so they will hear a consistent messages. And the new projects you decide to undertake. And changes you decide to make in the way you do business.
When it comes to pest control at my house, Gunter Exterminators sends me a postcard. When it’s time to rake the leaves, the piles make themselves bigger in the yard, and the weather changes to ring the alarm. When prescriptions run out, that’s an indicator it’s time to re-order. As April 15th approaches, I know my taxes are due.
When it comes to connecting with members, and sticking to the priorities, and being clear and concise with your audience, there’s nothing to remind you if not for a plan.
A plan requires you to sit down and scribble or type what you already know. Along with deadlines and measurements. How many members opened the mail? Attended the event? Answered the call to action? When done right, the plan begins with your association’s immediate goals. What do you want to accomplish in the coming year? The marketing plan outlines how you will “sell” the ideas and programs and tools, in order to reach your goals. Each and every one of your goals that effects your members.
Marketing is everything you have to do to come up with your products and services, making members aware of it, getting them to want it, and then selling it to them.
So next time you think you don’t need a plan, think about how for-profit business runs business. It’s just like you. Plan, organize, implement and measure. Then recycle as needed.