3 Marketing Planning Mistakes and 3 Tips to Avoid Them

The value of marketing planning is indisputable. A well-thought-out marketing plan provides your team with a clear strategy and roadmap for the year.

It helps prioritize your goals, set benchmarks, manage budget and keep your team accountable. Planning time is also the perfect time to assess what’s working and what isn’t – from strategies and campaigns to team roles and skillsets.

The process can be overwhelming. As a result, marketing teams often put it off, losing valuable thinking and planning time. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

3 Marketing Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Traditionally, marketing has relied heavily on lengthy, rigid, long-term plans. These plans took a long time to develop and even longer to execute. The most common planning mistakes stem from this outdated approach:

  • A plan not designed with enough flexibility to handle disruptions without missing opportunities
  • A plan not designed with realities of execution in mind
  • A plan that lists everything you are going to do for the next 12 months

Today, rapidly changing customer and market demands and the speed of digital transformation require a different approach to marketing planning.

Flexible, Incremental and Agile Planning Strategy

Although you still have to plan ahead, today’s most successful marketing plans leave room for flexibility, allowing your team to adapt quickly, refocus, and keep working toward your business goals without a significant loss of productivity.

Planning for flexibility also makes the entire planning process more manageable and efficient. Instead of spending months on setting your plan in stone for the next year, you define your company’s annual goal and develop a plan for achieving it – and then recalibrate quarterly and revisit monthly.

This more incremental approach will allow you to react quickly should all evidence point to the plan not working, instead of pushing forward as planned no matter what.

Let’s be very clear: this is not a call for constantly shifting gears. Marketing activities take time to yield results. It’s about planning for, and with, flexibility.

3 Tips for Winning with Marketing Planning

As you plan for the next year, follow these three tips to make sure you develop an effective and executable marketing plan:

  1. Identify your company’s top, most critical business goal and develop a plan around it
  2. Audit your marketing and stop doing things that are not working
  3. Identify what you’ll need (skills, resources, etc.) to execute for results

The following articles introduce the concept of the flexible, incremental framework and take a deeper dive into marketing planning strategies and steps necessary to develop an effective marketing plan:

Agile Marketing Planning: Flexibility Meets Results

Make This THE Year We Finally … a More Practical Approach to Marketing Planning

Marketing in the Real World – Most Important Decisions for Avoiding Execution Paralysis

For more tools and resources, check out our Marketing Resources and Tools for Real-World Results.

Need help creating marketing plans that are designed with flexibility and execution in mind? Contact us to start a conversation.