We spend a lot of time on marketing plans at GMS. It’s our job. Sometimes we develop them for our clients, sometimes we work together to build them. Either way, we work with clients every day to implement them. And we are constantly measuring their results and adjusting. It’s not a sit-back-’til-next-year proposition. It’s a process. The following practices make that process more effective.
- Have a clear vision. Set real, honest goals for what the plan needs to help your business accomplish. It sometimes seems easier on the front end to leave some elements or timelines fluid. It is, and that may be needed in some areas. But that’s about the tactics, the “doing.” Not the ultimate. Unless you know what results you want, you won’t be able to assess whether all that “doing” worked. Set the goals first!
- Build creative strategies. There is a lot of noise out there in the market. When you don’t have the biggest budget in the marketplace, it can be difficult to be heard. Creativity can go a long way. New ways of aligning all your components – print, digital, public relations, partnership, etc. – to engage your target customers and leverage your reach and your visibility can deliver positive results.
- Stay true to your brand. Whether your particular focus is on social voice or positioning or strategic alliances, the goal is the same. Be consistent and be real.
- Track it. Track both the activities and the progress. Assign specific tasks to specific people, ensure everyone understands the distribution of duties, and monitor the process. Tracking your ongoing results, either using the free analytics products available or through a process of your own, is vital. Periodic reviews and status updates are essential to keeping the plan moving toward your goals.
- There are two metrics to consider when evaluating your success. The first is relative to the goals you set. Did you reach them? The second is the return on investment of the plan – more specifically, of the elements of the plan. What gave you the best return? What brought more of what you wanted in #1 above, at an efficient cost? How can you get more of that in the next plan?
We work through this process with clients every day, every year. We’re building, implementing and adapting plans that yield the best results. We’ll help you find the solutions that work for you.