The marketing plan is dead

Perhaps a little over dramatic, but in reality it’s true. The traditional marketing plan that we all know and love is no more. Here’s why.

It was bound to happen.

Customers no longer fit into your tried and tested, linear marketing plan. They question everything, they’re unpredictable and they’re out of your control.

They talk to other prospects and customers, they demand answers now and form their opinions even more quickly. They ruthlessly compare, judge, praise and advise us. It’s 24/7 and we can’t turn them off or ignore them. We believe the traditional marketing plan is just not built for, or flexible enough, to meet the demands of today’s marketing environment.

Customers no longer do, or believe, what they’re told. Your perfectly formed marketing pill is just too hard for them to swallow, no matter how much you sugar coat it.

Here we call on our old friend, efficiency.

An efficient plan has a clear strategy with a beginning and an end, but in the middle it’s just far more flexible, agile and creative. It reacts to your needs, your customers’ needs and the notion that predicting you cannot predict your customers is the safest way forward.

Your plan needs a plan.

Sounds like more work doesn’t it? It’s not.

Having sub-plans for each of the sections in your plan will help you manage things like which channel and messaging you should use and should any of these bits change, you can change them without muddying the bigger picture. Each of these little plans should have a manageable objective with very specific timings and measurements. If it looks like it won’t meet these objectives then tweak that part of your plan so it can achieve them.

Use your competition

Look at what your competitors are doing. You can do this surreptitiously or not. Your competitors will be doing the same as you are. See what channels they are using, what’s working, what isn’t. Learn from what they are doing and how their customers react. Chances are your customers are going to do the same too. Don’t chase them and chuck yourself onto a new platform with a big, untested chunk of your budget. Analyse it as you would with any marketing decision.

Have a clear purpose

Don’t wait till the end of a month or the end of a campaign to see what went on, check it all the time. Be agile; test changes when things are going your way and see if they make a difference. With the amount of monitoring platforms at your disposal, there really are no excuses. React in real time – this is what will make you different from your competitors.

Keep things simple

Don’t overcomplicate things. You’ll waste loads of time and resources.

It is an obvious thing to say, but take a step back to reflect. How you use your budget will help with this. Don’t think of it as ‘£X’ amount for this campaign and ‘£X’ amount for that one. It should be split down further. Budget for one campaign should be allocated against planning, testing, delivery and analytics on new platforms and media – you could make a huge impact on a new audience that you wouldn’t have expected.

Your new, agile marketing plan needs to pull together all your channels. If they work together it will be more efficient. But be careful not to water your campaigns down too much – remain focused to your overall business objectives.

Need to get up to speed with more Planning thought? Download and read our eBook chapter: Efficient Planning.

To find out how we can help you get smarter with your marketing planning, call us on 0114 272 8888.