If your marketing plan isn’t producing the results you need, or if you are just getting started in the planning process, this brief article offers tips on how to develop solid goals, manage your processes and achieve better results.
SMART Goals + Right Activity Mix + Accountability = Marketing Success
Over the years, I have reviewed many marketing plans (as well as many business plans with an emphasis on marketing). While these plans may look good on paper, they often fail to achieve the desired results over time. Why?
3 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
The three most common problems I have seen are:
1) Unrealistic Projections for Generation of Income or Revenue
The plans seriously underestimate how long it will take to generate sales or penetrate the market. This was especially true during and after the Great Recession, when all the old business rules seemed to change.
2) Lack of Specific Activities that Should Drive Desired Sales
For most businesses, it takes more than an attractive website and a good SEO plan to enter or stay in the marketplace. Are you planning to advertise or use an aggressive public relations campaign? What materials will your sales force or customer service team use? How are you training your sales team or customer service representatives? How do you specifically plan to enhance relationships with your current clients, new prospects and also stay in touch with former clients or customers?
3) No Serious Accountability for the Overall Plan
Even if goals are specified, if no one is making sure they get accomplished, the wheels will fall off the bus. In my experience, it takes a commitment from TOP management to make things happen and keep things on track.
3 Marketing Tips to Ensure Success
Now you know what to avoid. So, let’s focus on the things you need to do to achieve success:
1) Set SMART Marketing Goals to Achieve Success
SMART stands for…
- Specific – The objective states a specific goal, to increase sales or market share by a specific amount, not to just make more money or increase market share.
- Measurable – The goals must be measurable in terms of dollars, percentage of market share or some other measurement criteria.
- Achievable – The goal is do-able based on the company’s actual skills, talents, resources and availability to capital (if needed to expand and meet the goal).
- Realistic – While this sounds similar to achievable, it is different. Even though a goal may meet the other objectives, it may take too much effort, time or overall resources from the team or owners to make it a truly viable goal.
- Time Bound – The goals need specific deadlines, such as a quarterly, six month or annual time frames.
Example of a Non SMART goal:
I want to grow my business.
Example of a SMART goal:
I want to increase my revenue by 10% in 2017. My goal is to add two new retainer clients and bill an average of 30 hours per week, leaving up to 10 hours per week for non-billable activities. To attract and retain business, as well as stay in touch with former clients, I will do the following: add new contacts to my database and connect with them via social media, stay in touch with my existing network via social media with weekly or more frequent updates, attend a minimum of two networking events a month, blog once a month, send out two mailing campaigns per year, send out a minimum of two email campaigns per year, deliver Halloween presents to clients and prospects and send holiday gifts to all retainer clients.
2) Select the Right Mix of Activities to Achieve Your Goals
In developing your plan, you also need to select the right mix of actives and tasks to achieve the desired results. Marketing is as much of an art as a science in my opinion. With great execution, even the most basic plan can achieve stellar results. However, a great plan, with poor execution, limited creativity and lack of enthusiasm from team members can fall flat. (I outlined the mix of activities I actually use in my business in the example above.)
3) Make Sure Action Items Are Completed On Time
Also, companies that have the greatest success don’t just write a great marketing plan with SMART goals and put it on the shelf. It is critical to layer the action items onto a daily or weekly planning calendar and review them regularly to make sure you stay on track. I suggest meeting weekly or every other week (at a minimum) to review goals and make sure you are getting everything done on time.
Even if you set SMART goals, sometimes the plan doesn’t work as envisioned. When this happens, it is important to review the goals (based on economic and competitive pressures) and discuss trying new tasks to achieve the objectives. If you are gaining more traction in one area than another, evaluate allocating more time and resources to what seems to be working, but also be sure to evaluate and ask “why” for future planning purposes.
If you found this article helpful, please post a comment and share it on social media. Also, be sure to check out my other blog posts and connect with me on social media to help us stay in touch. Thank you!