Why It’s Impossible to Write a Marketing Plan
We’re back on the subject of how to prepare for your 2012 marketing plan, and I have a confession. I think it’s an exercise in futility to write marketing plans for more than three months out. Competitors surprise you. Budgets get cut. Product launches stall. End-of-the-quarter sales fire drills demolish your priorities. God and the market laugh when marketing mortals make “plans.” Your plans will be screwed up, so be prepared to be flexible is all I’m saying.
Three Months at a Time
More realistic for many companies is a flexible, rolling three month plan, that yes, in a way, you make up as you go along. But then, isn’t that how marketing works anyway?
Some fixed landmarks will help you steer a little during the year: a couple of must-attend trade shows. That product launch that has to happen in the second quarter. The sales plan dependent on x-number of unit sales. You won’t be totally anchorless.
Think Customer Plan, Not Marketing Plan
So, make a plan? Don’t make a plan? Then what’s the point of all this? I suggest building your content marketing plan around the one thing that stays constant. Think of it as a Customer Plan, not a Marketing Plan. Don’t approach it from what you will do, but how can you encourage engagement with the right customers? What do they care about? How will you reach out to them? What will you say and when? What are they planning to do in their own businesses in 2012? How can you help?
All your traditional and social media and marketing efforts will still have a place, but the framework is built around catering to the customer. Ace your customers, and the plan will come.
Need a Marketing Therapist?
Thinking about how to communicate with customers can get overwhelming very quickly. Sometimes an outsider can bring a different perspective or at least a sympathetic ear. I’m offering a free one-hour marketing strategy session for anyone who reads this blog, but there are only a few slots left. I’ll bring the questions, arrange the conference call, and moderate the session for you (and sign a non-disclosure agreement of course.) You can bring the snacks.
Image: Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.netcontent marketing, Customer Plan, customers, marketing, Marketing plan, marketing questions