Your marketing plan is a map. It guides your activities and provides you with benchmarks and goals throughout the year. Your plan should be adaptable and allow for a change in direction if needed. Your marketing plan is a pathway to achieving growth, and keeping it current is an investment in your success.
The best strategy for working with an adaptable marketing plan is to review it regularly. A stale or outdated marketing action plan is one of the most common reasons for steady declines in website traffic and lead generation.
Why is it important to review your marketing plan each year?
You may find that your plan has unrealistic expectations. For example, if your plan says to publish two original blogs per week, but you’re barely able to keep up with one blog per week, a change needs to be made in your priorities or in the plan. Your company should be able to rely on the plan for a framework of marketing activities.
How to Review Your Marketing Plan
Reviewing your plan can be done as often as you need. We recommend setting regular review sessions that include key decision-makers for your company. Here are five steps for successfully reviewing your plan.
1. Compare Your Plan to YoY (Year-Over-Year) Performance Trends
Review the items in your marketing plan one at a time and make note of any areas that need to be discussed. Be sure to review the budget, timelines, and milestones or benchmarks that you established to measure success.
Did you meet the benchmarks outlined in your plan? If not, what is the reason they weren’t met? If an extraneous circumstance was the reason a benchmark wasn’t met, then it might not be necessary to alter the plan. However, if your workload, experience, or task prioritization led to missing the benchmark, consider changing it for something that is more realistic for your business.
2. Update Your Plan to Accommodate Unanticipated Changes
You’ll rarely find that 100% of your original plan was working as expected. Once you’ve established what’s working and what’s not, it’s time to make some changes.
Update your plan with the changes that you and other key decision-makers at your company have established. This could include changing the frequency of publishing content, establishing a new approval or communication process for certain tasks, or increasing or decreasing the budget based on actual results.
3. Set New Benchmarks to Achieve Your Target ROI
What will success look like with these plan changes? How will you know if you’re on track to hit your goals? Establishing new benchmarks will not only help keep your plan on track for success, but it will also create accountability for all members of your team.
If possible, save these benchmarks somewhere visible to all team members. Having a constant reminder of how success will be measured is a great way to encourage consistent performance from your team.
4. Implement Your New Marketing Plan Strategically
Now that the changes and benchmarks have been established, you can begin implementing the updated plan. This might require you to adjust your budget for certain campaigns, begin working on new campaigns, or assign new tasks to your team.
Communication will be your greatest ally in ensuring the successful implementation of your new plan. Let your team know why certain items were changed, how the new benchmarks will be measured, and what the team’s specific role is in achieving success for the marketing plan.
5. Schedule Time to Review Your Marketing Plan
It can be easy to put off reviewing the marketing plan. That’s why we recommend scheduling your next review session as part of the review process. By scheduling a future review session on your calendar, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
If you need help reviewing or even starting a marketing plan, reach out to us. We do it for ourselves and our clients and are happy to help where we can!