It was one of those perfect October Saturdays. The air had that fall crispness that’s so refreshing after a hot summer and the sky was that brilliant turquoise blue that only comes this time of the year. You were ready for a great football game, after all your team had an incredibly talented roster of players, were coached by one of the best, had the most sophisticated set of plays and the morale was at its highest. You just couldn’t lose…..but you did. What happened?
What we have here is a failure to execute!
A well researched, documented and detailed strategic marketing plan is nothing but great intentions unless it is executed flawlessly. Absolute attention to detail is the key and if executed properly, the plan will deliver on the increased sales that were the initial objective.
Here are some important things to remember:
- Make sure that you have the right resources in place and that they are committed to the plan. If internal departments were involved in creating the plan and had input, chances are very good that you will have their buy-in. There’s nothing worse than generating great leads from a direct marketing action only to have the sales department not follow through. Not only will the leads become stale, but the expectations of the prospects will not be met, generating negative impressions. It’s also imperative to have the right external resources. The selection of the right mix of vendors to perform the tactical actions is critical as their performance directly relates to your success, so it’s important not to fly through this step.
- Be sure to build in proper lead times. Things don’t happen as quickly as you might expect. Sometimes a new website can take as long as sixty days to complete. A good rule of thumb is to be working three to six months in advance and if your campaign is particularly complex, involving both offline and online efforts, you may need even more time. There is a potential danger: allowing too much time, where other priorities start jumping in the way. It’s a bit of a balancing act.
- Determine up front what every department, vendor etc. is going to need in order to properly execute their piece. If the sales department needs to upgrade their Customer Relationship Management system in order to follow through on leads, make sure that takes place before you start spending money on generating those leads. Also, if one of the goals of your plan is to increase sales by 15%, you’ve got to have the capacity to produce or you’ll end up with unhappy customers.
- Hold people accountable for their commitments. A solid project management tool can be instrumental in documenting and communicating critical dates and benchmarks as well as formalizing expectations. Who is supposed to be doing what and by when will keep the execution of your marketing plan from unraveling or underperforming.
Ongoing monitoring and follow-up is going to be a necessary aspect throughout the life of your marketing plan and most important, stay committed to the plan. People and vendors will bring ideas or great media buy deals to you, which must be weighed against the plan to determine if they meet your plan’s objectives.
Lastly, if all of this coordination is outside of your ability or time constraints to manage, consider bringing expertise in to help, something we are very good at.