Gone are the days of the five-year marketing plan that is executed as it was written on day one. In a real time media world, adaptation is key. Businesses need to be nimble – and have the agility to reallocate resources to seize timely opportunities and capitalize on opportunities to generate repeat successes.
While adaptation is key, it is not to say that one should not have a plan in place. The key is to develop a marketing strategy that is highly measurable, research-informed and is masterfully aligned with the company’s overall business plan. So, when is the right time to update your business marketing plan? Here are a few examples:
1) You are about to undergo or have recently gone through a merger or acquisition.
Blending brands can be messy. Whose tagline best communicates the UVP and expertise of the new brand? What are the key messages that need to be communicated to new and existing customers? What do you do when email marketing was Company A’s most powerful sales tool and Company B’s constituents value direct mail? Use the merger or acquisition to reinvigorate your marketing strategy and establish consistency of brand from the onset.
2) You are about to or have recently updated your business plan/strategic plan.
It is important to know what role marketing will play in achieving your overall business goals. It is also important to define marketing’s relationship to sales and to have clearly defined roles and responsibilities in place for those respective teams. The marketing plan can also help to prioritize goals and objectives and determine how best to allocate internal and external resources.
3) Your marketing KPIs aren’t as strong as they used to be.
Are your e-newsletter open rates dropping? Are your landing page conversions on the decline? Are your info sessions yielding lower attendance than they used to? If so, it may be time to update your marketing channel. With so many companies executing multi-channel marketing campaigns – and competing for the same audiences’ attention – standing out from the crowd is key. A research-informed strategic marketing plan will evaluate the competition and help to identify your company’s marketing opportunities (and of course, challenges) in the marketplace.
4) You’re losing market share and/or share of voice to the competition.
The day your chief competitor unveils a robust, attention-grabbing marketing campaign that is arguably on point and is being pushed through the right channels is among every company’s worst nightmares. Rather than accepting defeat, seize the timely opportunity to reevaluate and refine your marketing plan so as to better serve your target audiences and allocate your marketing resources as smartly and strategically as possible given the increased competition.
5) You’ve expanded your geographic footprint.
Every town, county, state and region has its own unique identity. As does each and every media market. What worked in New York City isn’t a surefire bet in Boston and your marketing strategy needs to address these community attributes and demonstrate keen understanding of each community’s nuances.
6) You’re launching a new product or service/entering a new vertical.
Marketing strategies are not one size fits all. The marketing channels you successfully leveraged to promote and sell your mass market widget are not necessarily the best fit for your new, high-end offering. Don’t throw spaghetti at the wall and hemorrhage valuable time to prove marketing ROI. Invest in a research-informed marketing strategy.
While the above list is by no means exhaustive, it demonstrates the need to maintain an up-to-date marketing plan that is aligned with overall business goals. Whether your company is the newcomer in its industry or rich in history, a strategic marketing plan is key to being able to demonstrate tangible marketing ROI.