It’s annual marketing plan time. In November and December, thousands of companies will finalize their plans.
If you are not done preparing a 2012 marketing plan, or if you are not in the midst of writing one, you are behind the eight ball.
Last year, I shared an annual marketing plan template
that should come in handy again this year. (More than 2,000 people have downloaded it.) My firm uses this template for its own marketing purposes, and its marketing consultants use it with clients as well.
To help you put together a marketing plan for 2012, here’s a reminder of top 10 reasons that marketing plans fail.
1. No written marketing plan.
An obvious one, but if you don’t take the time to create a marketing plan, your marketing will flounder in 2012.
2. Goals are poorly defined.
Every good plan starts by defining goals. If you don’t do this, there’s no point in preparing a marketing plan. Make sure marketing goals are aligned with the business plan and with key business objectives.
3. Unattainable goals.
There’s little worse than working a plan where the goals are not even possible. Set realistic marketing goals that can be achieved if the marketing plan is executed well.
4. No buy-in.
Who executes a marketing plan? Everybody in the company. The plan needs to be created with buy-in from key employees who ultimately will own the execution of the plan. Getting buy-in starts with effective marketing planning and strategy conversations
5. No clear responsibilities or accountability.
We’ve seen great marketing plans fail because tasks are not assigned to individuals and because there is no accountability. Be sure to define who is doing what—and when—as part of your marketing plan.
6. Wrong people working the plan.
Even the best laid plans fail if the people in charge of execution don’t have the skills and attributes needed for successful implementation.
7. No discipline to execute the plan.
Some organizations talk a good game on planning, but they lack the discipline required to implement a plan.
8. Lack of performance consequences.
What happens when somebody succeeds at executing the marketing tasks for which they are responsible? What happens if they don’t get their assigned tasks done? For a marketing plan to be executed successfully, you’ll need to motivate your team, both with carrots and with sticks.
9. Lack of time or lack of money.
Nothing is more frustrating than writing a marketing plan and then finding out that there’s no budget to cover it and everybody is too busy to execute the plan. Be sure to get consensus on your marketing budget and available resources before you finalize your plan.
10. Changing market conditions.
This one is beyond your control. If there are fundamental shifts in the market, your plan may not work. For this reason, it’s good to revisit your marketing plan frequently during the year to see if it needs to be updated based on changing marketing conditions.
Good luck with your marketing planning efforts.
Ken Gaebler is the founder and chairman of Walker Sands, a full-service marketing and PR firm. A version of this story first appeared on the Walker Sands blog.