Five Mistakes To Avoid When Crafting A Marketing Plan

Building a solid marketing plan takes time and hard work, but it’s necessary: Without a good idea of where you want to go—and how you want to get there—a company can waste a lot of time and resources trying a dozen different directions before hitting on the right path forward.

But even with a plan, there are a number of things that can be overlooked as a team puts together a project, especially when they’re first starting out. To help isolate some of the missteps to watch out for as you get started, members of Forbes Agency Council talk about some of the more common issues that can arise with business plans, as well as discuss how to best deal with those situations. Here’s what they said:

Members discuss a few things to remember when preparing to craft a solid marketing plan.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Budget Allocation Changes Or Delays

Marketing budget allocations are likely to change or be delayed in any planning cycle. The changes and delays in confirming the “final number” then cause a painful series of tactical, execution marketing fire drills. To manage against this, I create two versions of my initial marketing plan: one based on a top-down budget and the other based on a bottom-up budget. From there, I create a slimmed down version of both that helps stakeholders understand the tradeoffs of spend levels, and how the final budget will impact the plan, including pipeline, acquisition, revenue targets, operating costs and delivery. This approach provides immediate transparency and proactively answers questions early in the planning cycle so subsequent iterations can focus on innovation, efficiency and market-first explorations. – Serenity Thompson, A23 Advisors

2. Lack Of Content Strategy

One aspect that can go wrong when developing a marketing plan is the content strategy or more specifically, the lack of one. We see too many agencies start a marketing plan without a foundation and a content strategy. Our goal is to learn about the current and future goals of our clients to develop our strategy. – Alexander Valencia, We Do Web Content

3. Clients Not Following The Agreed Strategy

We’ve been seeing clients forget that we built a strategy before any creative work gets started. That strategy manifesto should inform our work and our clients’ decisions throughout the engagement. When things go off book, we have an honest and open conversation to make sure things haven’t changed for them. – David Farinella, Farinella LLC

4. Misjudging The Target Audience

Lately, I’m seeing clients misjudge their target audiences. People sometimes want to make the assumption they should be marketing to everyone, instead of choosing specific targets and the best ways to reach those specific groups. With so many different channels to communicate from, targeted messaging is more important than ever. – Jennifer von Stauffenberg, Olive Creative Strategies, Inc.

5. Not Identifying The ‘Why’

Not starting with the “why” can be a problem. Too often, marketing plans dive deep into the tools, techniques, and methods, but miss the most important question: Why are we doing this? An extremely clear and considered answer to “why” prevents mistakes, communications breakdowns, bad work, and missed opportunities. – Ryan Cassin, Asset Agency

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