Without a clear goal, a marketing plan is a plan for disaster.

Far too often, marketers fall into the trap of throwing anything and everything at the wall in an effort to see what sticks.

Many times, this is because they’re in charge of a campaign in search of a voice – or at the very least, a business in search of a plan. Make no mistake: without clear, actionable goals, the only marketing plan you’re creating is one of disaster.

The Importance of the Plan

Without knowing exactly what your organization is trying to accomplish, how would you ever expect to achieve it? It’s a bit like setting off on a road trip from the East Coast to the West and the only thing you know ahead of time is “I think I’d like to end up in California, maybe.” What roads do you take to get there? How do you make sure you don’t get lost? What do you do if there’s traffic? Without a plan, you’ll never make it from “Point A” to “Point B” in one piece – if you make it there at all.

Marketing is the same way. “I want to increase business” is the obvious goal for just about every organization, but you need to break things down further. “I want to increase revenue by X percent by Y date.” “I want to increase the number of quality leads I’m finding.” “I want to build up the average customer lifetime value of each person who does business with my company by a certain percentage going into the next fiscal year.” These are goals that justify their own existence: they’re actionable, they’re realistic and they laid the groundwork for what you should do next.

Without them, you’ll just find yourself back on that proverbial road trip without even a sense of which way to start driving.