This is the fourth follow-up to my original post Trick question: Are you a marketing planner or a marketing doer?, which touched on the basic requirements of a strategic marketing plan:
- Establishing objectives and goals
- Defining audiences
- Creating strategies and tactics
- Setting priorities
- Establishing how success will be measured
In the last installment I noted that marketing tactics come in all shapes and sizes – one-time vs. recurring, down-and-dirty vs. elaborate, time-sensitive vs. evergreen. This installment hits more deeply on the importance of setting priorities to successfully implement those tactics. Make this step a priority itself as part of your marketing plan efforts! If you don’t, you are almost guaranteed to fail while implementing your plan.
Failure will come in one of the following forms:
- Burning through your budget before realizing any noteworthy results
- The ‘squirrel’ syndrome, where you can’t do any one thing effectively because you are trying to do too many at once
- Lack of balance among high-risk/high-return initiatives and sure-fire ones
Prioritization of tactics should involve a small team to ensure associated factors aren’t overlooked. These may be factors that are within your control, such as available personnel resources, or ones out of your control, such as the timing of an event. Having folks with varied perspectives involved can be of help during this process.
Here are several things to keep in mind when you and your team are making decisions about tactical priorities:
- Set priorities based on an honest and realistic budget assessment. Champagne wishes and caviar dreams won’t be fulfilled on a beer and chips budget.
- Tactics that arise from a marketing plan are intended to build upon one another over time. Prioritize giving each the appropriate time to produce results, leveraging them to maximize success.
- ‘Low hanging fruit’ opportunities are by their very definition usually high-priority tactics that should be explored first to gain momentum.
Once your plan tactics have been prioritized, build out an implementation schedule that’s as aggressive as you can manage while realistically accounting for your resources, and, of course, the occasional unforeseen issue that will arise. Your implementation should take into consideration the timing of external factors (e.g., Does your planned advertising campaign schedule fall right in the middle of election season, when rates are escalated? May want to re-think that!). The implementation schedule should look at least one year out, which will give you a good set of real benchmarks to work against. Timing benchmarks must be accompanied by those associated with performance measurement, which I’ll cover in the next follow up!
Setting priorities for an overall marketing plan is one of the many capabilities Reuben Rink provides as a full-service agency. Contact us today to explore how we can help your business develop a thorough marketing plan!