Many companies, from fintech start-ups to long establish businesses, find producing a marketing plan is like pulling teeth.  Some try to convince themselves that they don’t need a marketing plan. The common defence is something like, ‘Things change so fast that there’s no point in producing a marketing plan’.

Having no marketing plan creates a huge black hole in your business. This black hole will suck all your money, time, passion and chances of success. It will all disappear with astonishing speed.

In this and forthcoming blogs, we will help you get a grip of marketing planning. Let’s start with a few things you can do to approach the process of developing a fintech marketing plan in a positive way.

Take a deep breath and…

1 Relax

You don’t have to produce a 12 month marketing plan. The idea of fully committing to specific marketing activities a year in advance is clearly nuts. It goes against many basic fintech principles.

New technology, emerging opportunities and changing customer needs are just a few factors that can quickly make a 12-month plan irrelevant. You need time to test and learn the marketing tactics that will work for your business and therefore this flexibility is especially critical for fintech start-ups.

Knowing your 12 month goals and strategy is far more important. These should not change quickly so use them as reference points for every decision and near-term plan you devise.

The main point is this – a marketing plan is there to help you. It’s not a millstone around your neck.  It’s your opportunity to define the specific business goals your plan will support and what success would look like. A marketing plan does more than defining what needs to be done. It also defines what is out of scope, which is more important than most people realise. A marketing plan therefore protects you and your resources by enabling you to say ‘no’ to activities that take you off track.

Don’t worry if you’ve missed the planning cycle that usually begins in January. Today, we need to be planning all the time so you should think about increments that make sense for your business today.

2 Listen and learn

Get to know you customers. Find out how they see you and your product. Spend time with your sales teams and learn from their insights. Visit clients and witness customer interaction. Spend time with your telesales or Customer Services teams.

Ask to see the emails your sales people are sending to introduce your business to prospects.  Review a selection of introductory emails sent by your sales people. Is the language and messaging aligned with your expectations? If no, you must include a review of marketing messages in your plan.  This would usually be done as part of the development of a basic marketing toolkit. Your toolkit would typically include elements such as a clearly articulated elevator pitch, which All Business says is an essential to helping you attract new clients, talent and potential investors.

Set up some simple social media monitoring to get to know what people are saying about the services your and your competitors provide.

If you are thinking beyond a basic marketing plan, expand your view by using surveys and face-to-face meetings to gather input and insights from other colleagues. Ask what they see as strengths and weaknesses of your business and how they feel about its mission and vision.

3 Create consensus

Failure to gain senior buy-in at this early stage is often the reason why marketing plans fail. Fingers will point at you in the Board Room if the business fails to hit it targets. Give them the opportunity to express any concerns early on and get their blessing from the beginning.

Start with a conversation between you and your CEO. Identify your executive owners and key senior stakeholders. Consult your heads of Sales and Finance as your marketing plan will be closely aligned with their objectives. If you have an in-house marketing team, be sure to involve them. Let them all help you.

If you don’t have the required skills internally, assign some of these tasks to a specialist fintech marketing agency.

The right marketing plan will make you and your business more successful so free your mind and start taking control.