Having a judicious marketing plan before undertaking any project is crucial for its success. But, ask yourself, how often is a marketing plan reviewed within your organization once it has been implemented? Considering plans and strategies as a work-in-progress rather than done-and-dusted is a key part of ensuring you will achieve your goals.
Marketing plans are meant to be adaptable
Marketing plans should be seen as a blueprint of the approach taken to reach a set goal. They should be flexible and open to adaptations when internal or external changes occur.
In the marketing landscape, where change is constantly occurring, marketers should expect these plans and related strategies to evolve and be aware of when they are not. Reviewing marketing plans every quarter is a good routine to follow; it may not seem like enough time for major changes but it is enough to run pulse checks. Additionally, whenever you are aware of any upcoming changes that may impact current marketing efforts, such as new legislation being rolled out, the plans should be reviewed as soon as possible and adjusted if need be.
For example, say you had an on-going marketing strategy that leveraged social media channels for lead generation. Over the last 4 months, one social platform has started to underperform due to the platform’s number of active users dropping. Instead of investing time and money on how to salvage it by reworking the tactics, it may be best to stop all of the platform’s paid social efforts and instead reinvest the budget into the best performing platform or become an early adopter on a promising new social platform.
In some cases, the best option could be for the marketing plan to be axed completely and to start again. Although this may seem daunting, there is no need to panic. Scrapping marketing plans that no longer deliver valuable results or no longer future proof allows you to focus more on ones that do bring value and for new, innovative plans to form.
Always be goal-oriented
Imagine you’re in your car and you’re using your GPS to direct you to your end destination that’s a few hours away. It routes out a few possible options and you select the best one. Halfway into your journey, the traffic starts to slow down. You wait in traffic, arriving late at your destination.
Alternatively, while on the same journey, you occasionally check your GPS map to see if you’re still going to get to the destination on time. Halfway through, part of the route has become red, indicating a build-up of traffic due to an incident. Knowing you have to make it in time, you reroute the journey, avoiding the incident and arrive right on the dot.
The key difference between the two scenarios is that in the first one, the focus was placed on the set plan while in the second one, the focus remained on the objective.
When a lot of effort has been placed into creating a marketing plan it can be easy to think of it as the answer and only view the tactics as changeable. However, plans are formed using the information and resources available at that time. Focusing on a goal helps marketers stay aware of external factors and new information.
Pay attention to trends and adapt to stay competitive
We’ve seen many giant corporations crumble and fall due to their failure to adapt with the times — Blockbuster, anyone? Alternatively, we’ve seen corporations of all sizes adapt to changes and trends in the marketplace by pivoting their marketing plans to achieve new, greater goals.
For example, brick and mortar supermarket’s marketing plans often involved price matching competition, distributing sales flyers, and gaining new customers through digital marketing campaigns. Traditionally, their competition was other brick and mortar supermarkets. Now, with the rise of food delivery services and meal prep companies who deliver groceries to your door, brick and mortar is being disrupted by click and collect.
Supermarkets and others in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry are being forced to adapt to stay competitive. Places like Trader Joe’s, Safeway, and Walmart are offering online orders and home delivery. They have recognized the trends in eCommerce and, wisely, noted the threat it posed. So, they adjusted their marketing plan, came up with a new strategy, and adapted to the new channels opening up in their industry. They are not like Blockbuster.
Spearheading changes to your marketing plan is daunting at first. However, perceiving them as continuous works-in-progress will benefit your organization. Adapting marketing plans over time will keep you relevant in today’s evolving marketing landscape. Focus on the end-goal and the rest will happen more naturally.