The point is that people build marketing plans that don’t work.Over the years I've noticed six reasons why we hate marketing plans. Here some ways to get around those obstacles to create plans that are actionable, organic and will work.
- The marketing plans are not actionable. I’ve seen tons of very well-written plans that were the equivalent of being “oblique without being obtrusive.” In other words, they sounded great and didn't mean anything - there was no way to implement anything. For an actionable plan, you need to create tangible strategies and tactics, as well as timelines. Goals must be defined in a measurable sense with action clearly noted to achieve those goals. Action is the key word here.
- You’re afraid of setting goals. For many entrepreneurs and mid-sized companies there’s a fear of setting measurable goals. On one hand, people are afraid they may not meet goals and this could look bad for a marketer. On the other, usually the entrepreneur, there is fear that you might set the goal too low and miss some great revenue because your sales team feels they don’t need to do anything more. If you’re not sure, set quarterly goals and adjust as you go, rather than annual goals. Or place some kind of incentive for percentage over goal. You’ll get better at it as you do it.
- The marketing plan is written too early. I’m a big fan of writing marketing plans in January. This is because so many deals get put on hold until after the holidays. If you know the base of business from which you’re starting in the new year, you’ll create a much better plan all around. There’s just too much in the air typically in December, or November for that matter, to write a good plan.
- Writing the plan is an agony. Marcomm plans for my clients are usually about two pages long. They don’t take long to create because they identify the goals, strategies, tactics and measurements. If you’re still defining your product or your audience, it’s not time to develop a plan. By the way, defining your audience and target customers is an excellent activity to accomplish in the fall.