There’s a big difference between a business plan and a marketing plan. But one of them can be useful, only, and just only, if we acknowledge that we can’t predict the future and then we act accordingly.
Before we get started, let’s point out a quote from Steve Blank:
“No business plan survives first contact with a customer” — Steve Blank
That couldn’t be more true.
Basically a business plan is a tool you use when you seek for money, so you can show the investors that you’ve done your homework and you know what you’re talking about. Practical value = 0.
Some people say that a business plan is useful because it pushes to think about things. But, if you need that push to think about your business, you’ve just signed up for failure.
So, if you ask me whether business plans work or not, I’d say no, they don’t.
On the other hand, we’ve got marketing plans, and the main difference with them and business plans, is that marketing plans have the potential to work.
Let me explain it:
When does a marketing plan fail?
That’s easy. Marketing plans fail when you pretend to make a map. You pretend to make the most accurate recipe of how things will go.
Those plans will fail because—paraphrasing Steve Blank—no marketing plan survives first contact with a customer if you make a map with every single detail in it.
Forget the idea of planning ahead a whole marketing strategy by pointing out every single detail in a map. There’s no map. Markets change. Really fast.
So, when does a marketing plan succeed?
A good marketing plan isn’t a map.
A good marketing plan is a document that shows how you see the world and what you stand for, including the people you seek to change and they way you pretend to do that.
And this sort of plans do work. The thing is, you haven’t defined point by point the tactics and the exact strategy. You’ve defined where you want to go, then the ‘how’ you get there is arbitrary.
The challenge is how to get there. But it’s not a big deal for you because with this sort of plan you’re nimble. If the market changes you have no problem because you know where you’re going, so you can act accordingly and modify your ‘how you get there.’
However, if you try to make a map, you won’t survive the first contact with the market. So this would be a tough challenge for you because markets change all the time, and if your plan doesn’t work when the market change, what’s its purpose?
Good marketing plans are a way to stay in track.
These things are way more important than your social media strategy.
After all, maybe your marketing plan should be just one page long.