A thoughtful marketing plan can be a powerful tool for entrepreneurs. It can keep you on track for achieving your goals, help measure your performance, and reinforce the core values of your business.
ThirtyFOUR Creative, a Richmond, Virginia-based communications firm, offers these suggestions for getting the most from your marketing plan:
1. Schedule a regular review
A monthly review is ideal, but certainly no less than once a quarter. The more often you conduct a review, the shorter amount of time it will take. You'll also be able to stay on top of changing conditions easier and react more quickly.
2. Check the plan's foundational elements first
ThirtyFOUR Creative says to give priority attention to items that are not related to tactics or budgets. For example: Have you introduced new products or services since you wrote your marketing plan? Has your competition shifted? Did your target audience change? Has the overall economic climate impacted your business? A significant move in any of these areas might require an adjustment of goals and strategies.
Second, look at the marketing efforts put in place since the last review to see whether you executed them as planned. Then, measure the type of response they generated. Did one marketing channel beat another? Did a blog post or a video strike a chord with your audience? Try to repeat your winning efforts and keep a close eye on underperformers.
4. Adjust your budget when necessary
By tracking your spending, you can see where you are investing your money and how those investments are paying off. A regular review can reveal the return on investment and whether assets need to be enhanced, moved around, or dropped.
5. Add new efforts to your plan
After reviewing and updating your plan to date, look ahead. What new marketing efforts will be put in place for the next month or quarter? Who will be responsible for executing them? What assets will you need to get them up and running? What results are you aiming for? Look at any new elements at your next regularly scheduled review with the same attention and make any required changes.
Updating and reviewing your marketing plan diligently can help you steer your company through a constantly evolving competitive landscape.
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