A strategically sound, targeted and measurable marketing plan is key to marketing (and therefore business) success. Personally, I love researching, creating and developing marketing plans with Make Happy’s clients. However, getting the plan down on paper is just the beginning. The next step is to actually see it through.
I’ve noticed that many organisations seem to struggle to stick to their marketing plans. There are many reasons for this. Market conditions change, disasters and triumphs take place and businesses have to be ready to respond. Often, we see that marketers are asked to put aside their long term strategy in favour of responding to short term needs: a drop in sales here, a change in leadership there.
However, we know from experience that true and lasting marketing success comes from developing a marketing plan and seeing it through consistently. If you do this, your business will grow and marketing will drive the attainment of the organisation’s goals.
Of course plans may need to change, and you should allow for some flexibility and agility (we tend to follow the 80:20 rule, i.e 80% of your activity is planned, 20% is responsive and agile). However the systematic drive to achieving your objectives, following a formal plan, is a sure way to maximise ROI from investment in marketing.
Here are a few tips to ensure to help you stick to a marketing plan:
- Get buy in to your plan from all the key stakeholders in your business. Take them through it at the start of the year and show how it will bring the vision of the business to fruition. Use facts, figures, case studies and past performance to back up your planned activity. This will make it so much easier to argue for sticking to the long term plan later in the year when people begin making short term demands of you.
- Make sure your marketing plan is realistic and achievable. Devote plenty of time to considering what is attainable within your budget and resource.
- Break your plan into specific actions and tasks, assign each task to a person, and give them a deadline. Assign one person to overseeing the whole plan, and ensuring that each person completes their set activities.
- Celebrate small wins as you go along. When a milestone is achieved – share the success. If you meet a target, let everyone know and thank the people who got you there. This will keep your people inspired and motivated to keep pursuing the plan, even when it gets hard.
- Finally, keep at it! It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. And like anything, the more systematic and consistent you can be, the easier it will get.
This point in the year is a great time to take stock and see just how much of your planned activity you have executed. It’s never too late to get back on track!