Which Comes First: The Marketing or The Business Plan?

The marketing plan could be a subset of the business plan or completely obsolete during the first months of running a business.

For business in the marketing space, the marketing portion is the majority of the business plan itself.

Certain businesses (especially bootstrapped ones) may be heavily reliant on the marketing plan as an overview of their monetization plans.

However, there are legitimate cases where the marketing plan is not required for a successful business.

  • Famous personas, VIPs, serial entrepreneurs may already have an audience to tap into and bring recurring leads to their new business
  • Acquiring an existing successful business may (sometimes) not require a marketing plan.
  • Very narrow, specific industries may have a single market solution which is the go-to choice.
  • Funded businesses may take 3–5 years to evolve before converting their current audience depending on their interactions with the business solutions.

While I always prefer having a marketing plan handy, some businesses tend to be fairly organic or well funded for half a decade with the expectation to come up with the right idea after a careful assessment of their audience.

This is a reverse business model that generates value without defining the buyer persona and the revenue model upfront. In that case, generating a massive user base through a free offering may be a lucrative option that would pay for itself in the future.

For example, building an industry magazine or an outstanding tool that would attract hundreds of thousands of users may grow organically. 

Once you generate significant traction, you can analyze your audience and figure out the best conversion model that would seamlessly integrate into your platform and yield the best ROI forward.

This isn’t just about immediate profit; it’s about the long-term value each customer brings. You’ll need to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer acquisition cost (CAC), lifetime value (LTV), and conversion rates to understand the financial impact.

Continuous testing and tweaking of your conversion strategies, based on data-driven insights, will be necessary to maintain a high ROI. It’s a dynamic process that requires attention and adaptation as your platform evolves and your audience shifts.

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