Francis Bacon said “Consistency is the foundation of virtue.” But, Bernard Berenson said that “Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.” So which one is right? When marketing your products and services, consistency means developing a foundation, or marketing plan, that is flexible enough to be modified over time.
An effective marketing plan provides a powerful, cohesive blueprint that supplies insight to your industry and market, clarifies your marketing strategy, and evaluates and prioritizes your many promotional options. The marketing plan documents your objectives and goals and details the steps you will take to achieve those goals. The marketing strategy focuses on your targeted customers, contains your key messages describing how your products and services benefit your customers, and describes how you will communicate with your customers.
Using your defined goals, objectives, and messages, you can choose your promotional options based on the cost and the return on investment of your various ideas. Six months later, when you have a new idea, you can weigh the pros and cons of the new idea against what you have already built into your plan.
As a result of developing a marketing plan, your customers receive consistent messages at planned times. You communicate the benefits of your company and why your customers should chose you over your competition. The image you present through your logo and design, plus the message you send through your tag line and text, are similar on your business card, web site, brochure, direct mail campaign, and advertising.
In your plan, you have identified what success looks like. Evaluate your marketing programs and determine if you have reached those goals. Have you increased revenue? Added more customers? Obtained more repeat business? By answering these questions, you know which efforts to continue, which to modify, which to avoid, and how to spend your marketing dollars.