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What Can a Marketing Plan Do For You?

Many businesses operate with a “seat-of-the-pants” marketing plan. A good marketing plan will work as a guide to ensure all your marketing channels are operating to their fullest capacity.

A marketing plan sets up measurable results against which a business can determine its return on investment (ROI).

Some sound advice on marketing plans

  1.  You can operate your business without a marketing plan, but you can’t really run your business. Maybe you’ve been getting by with the status quo, but could you do better? A marketing plan tells everyone on the team what the payoff will be and how you’re going to get there.
  2. Quality is better than quantity. If you set out to immediately write a 10-year marketing plan, you’re likely to be rewriting around year two! Times are changing and your marketing tools should be too. Spend time narrowing down your plan to the activities that will bring you the largest ROI (return on investment) in the shortest period of time.
  3.  Consider your audience. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on marketing and advertising if you’re aiming it at the wrong people. Current marketing tools provide a way for you to narrow your focus to only those audience members who are your best potential customers.
  4.  Set an implementation schedule. Give yourself time to gather everything you’ll need (i.e. editorial calendar, great photos, inspiring content) and outline a specific schedule for execution.
  5.  Have a backup plan. Just like your marketing plan can go out of date, it can also go sideways just as quickly. Stay abreast of new tools and constantly evaluate the effectiveness of your existing tools. When something goes wrong (and it will) be prepared to make the best of it with your “second-choice” activity.
  6.  Make the marketing plan easy to follow. Tell your staff about the marketing plan and explain in it detail. Knowing what’s in the plan can help your employees become brand ambassadors for your company.
  7.  Don’t be too hard on yourself. In the 1980s and ’90s, a business could live off the same marketing plan for 5-7 years. Not so much anymore.

    Marketing is a skill, a talent, and a science. It’s also a necessity for your small business. Take steps to ramp up your marketing today by reaching out to a marketing consultant or mentor.

Sponsored by the City of South Haven, South Haven Chamber of Commerce, and Lake Michigan College.

Congratulations to Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry for receiving his first loan through Northern Initiatives. With help from his SCORE mentor, Cheri Bales, Gregory did a fantastic job on developing his business plan and showing real entrepreneurial spirit. We wish you much success, and look forward to your upward movement. You are a wonderful role model.

—Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry

I appreciate your ears for listening, your eyes that see my vision and your heart that makes you who you are.  I thank you for your time. You are making a difference.

—Shawntel Lindsey, Director, The Artbor Community Connections Center

The WMed Innovation Center is a perfect environment for innovation to grow and become a successful commercial enterprise.


WMU Business Connection logo

Whether you are seeking a research partner or want to enlist the help of student groups in developing business plans, or just looking for ways to engage with WMU, the Business Connection office can find the resource to help move your business forward.


A loan (from Local Initiatives Support Corporation) helped expand our cafe to triple our seating, add a kids space, increase much needed staff work areas, and make other improvements to the space.


MEL logo

The Michigan eLibrary (MeL) is the State of Michigan’s digital library. It has excellent resources available to Michigan residents at no cost.


Western Michigan University’s Starting Gate helped me take an idea and transform it into a much more attainable reality. Whether providing talks with investors and business owners or accountability, the ultimate goal is helping your business succeed.

—Peter Shutt

Kalamazoo County Land Bank logo

The Kalamazoo Land Bank did robust community engagement around the vision and gave us something to work with that was solidly desired by people in the neighborhood. Having a vision meant we had to protect it. That’s something I thank the Land Bank for. It was difficult. It didn’t make anything faster or easier, but we got a better project in the end as a result of it.

—Matt Hollander

Buy Local logo

Buy Local Greater Kalamazoo is a hard working grassroots group focused on the greater Kalamazoo community and its small businesses. Their events and networking opportunities are the best!

—Cheri Bales

SBDC logo

Michigan SBDC is a great company providing top notch service to local businesses all over Michigan. The consultants are professional and the student workers contribute with excellent work!

—Martin Herman Sorensen