Make Your Marketing Implementation a Success
01.18.2013 / Posted in Articles, Strategy
Note: This is the final article in a series on marketing strategy from FrogDog. To begin from the beginning, click here.
A marketing plan is only worth the paper it is written on if it sits on a desk collecting dust. Often, companies spend a great deal of time creating a plan—and then don’t execute it in full.
How do you implement a marketing strategy successfully? You’ve set goals, created strategy, and determined tactics and budget. What now?
Someone Should Own It
When you spend all the time needed to create a strategy, you need to charge someone with executing it.
Seems obvious, right?
Yet many companies—especially smaller organizations with no dedicated marketing team—fail to assign it to anyone. Or, if they do assign it, they do so casually, meaning that they don’t tie the strategy’s completion to a job requirement and part of the assignee’s job-performance metrics.
If you put strategy execution onto someone’s plate who has a world of other responsibilities and who isn’t measured on getting the strategy implemented, it just won’t get done.
A lot of companies look at the breadth of a long-term plan and suffer paralysis. Executing a plan is a huge undertaking.
Create a spreadsheet or some other project plan system listing all activities and tactics that need completion and in what timeframe. Mapping out execution will help the person who owns the plan divide responsibilities between staff members.
That’s right: Divide. Just because someone “owns” the plan’s execution doesn’t mean that he has to complete every task on it. In fact, he may not be the best person to do so. Companies need to give the person responsible for executing the plan authority to assign out marketing tasks and responsibilities and, once these duties are assigned, require the assignees get them done and tie their performance to the tasks’ completion. Otherwise, the tasks will get lost in each staffer’s day-to-day job responsibilities.
Staying on Task
Each piece of the plan should have a clear project outline that ensures accountability and provides a road map for completion. We can’t say it enough: Projects fail because people are not held accountable for the assigned tasks. The owner of the plan must know who is doing what and when and get progress updates against the plan’s outline.
Also, as plans move forward, it’s easy for companies to get distracted. Opportunities arise that the team hadn’t mapped into its plan. At FrogDog, these most frequently take the form of sponsorships, conference appearances, and “special” advertising prices, yet they’ve also been influenced by new senior company staff coming in with a different perspective and by what we call “shiny ball” syndrome: Suddenly, what’s the company planned and what’s underway seems “boring” and something else seems “perfect.” (For more on abandoning marketing tactics, click here for our article on the subject.)
As we’ll discuss below, there are definitely times when it makes sense to change course. But adding new elements and subtracting others midstream on a whim is never a good idea. Staying the course is the only way to ensure a plan works as expected. The person who owns the plan needs to have the authority to push back on sudden changes.
Every good marketing strategy includes metrics by which the company will measure success. Reviewing metrics is critical—otherwise, companies can waste time and money on activities that aren’t hitting expected benchmarks. (For more in-depth information on measuring marketing efforts, download our white paper.)
In addition, measuring success against project plan reviews can show where people and teams are not executing the plan as they should. Regularly checking progress can ensure everyone stays on track.
Plans should never be rigid to the point where a course change cannot happen. Inside and outside market pressures will cause some programs to falter or miss benchmarks. By measuring, you can adjust as necessary, shifting budget and tweaking tactical plans.
All this, of course, is easier said than done. Give us a call – FrogDog can help!
Note: This is the final article in a series on marketing strategy. Start at the beginning by clicking here.