If you ever took a family vacation before the advent of smartphones or Mapquest – chances are you encountered a TripTik from AAA. I recently got reacquainted with TripTiks when my daughter and I were planning a college visit road trip: five colleges across four states. One stop into my local AAA, and we were armed with all that we needed: two neatly mapped out TripTiks.
My affection towards the TripTik stems from those long-ago cross-country vacations I took with my parents. If it weren’t for our TripTik’s big picture plans and detailed directions with bumps and detours highlighted, our vacations would have lacked efficiency and vision. These family TripTiks taught me early on the value and necessity of preparation and purposeful plans.
Preparation and planning are certainly not new themes for businesses. Today, most companies operate with some form of plan, whether it’s financial, sales or overall company strategy. As common as these plans may be, there is one plan that’s overlooked, especially for small and growing businesses: the marketing plan. According to the SBA, (Small Business Administration) July 2014 article, “only 56 percent of small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) have one, while among companies with over 1,000 employees, 81 percent have one”.
As the saying goes, “if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never know how to get there.”
Marketing plans are TripTik’s for today’s companies. They align your big picture vision with the company’s goals and create a path to reach audiences and help achieve revenue goals while providing detailed tactics. Without a clearly defined marketing route, your company’s growth is jeopardized.
Here’s why a marketing plan will help you reach your destination:
- A plan enables you to make marketing decisions easier and faster because you’ll have clarity. Do I need a blog? How many leads should the website generate? Do we need to attend this trade show? Random and reactive decisions are no longer the norm when a marketing plan is in place. Your road map has the answers, because you have determined in advanced the best route (strategy) to reach your targeted audiences, the budget and the preferred method of communication for each audience group.
- The power and relevance of a marketing plan will ignite confidence and bring employees together. Your team now understands where the company is going and why? Once everyone is driving in the same direction with the same purpose watch out… goals will be reached.
- A marketing plan can anticipate bumps and detours along the way, eliminating surprises and panics. It’s inevitable, that your marketing plan and strategy will be challenged and derailed. At times, you may have to change course to get back on track. The key is, a solid plan. It will help you efficiently and effectively react and steer the company back on course.
Bluntly put, running a company without a marketing plan is as ridiculous as going on a vacation without a destination. Start developing your marketing TripTik today!
Have a TripTik story…I’d love to hear it!
Rows of Triptiks waiting to be picked up.