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Putting the Plan into Practice

So, you spend the requisite number of hours creating a detailed digital marketing plan, present it to your management, and get the necessary approvals to do what you want to do. Then, in all too many cases, the plan gets put on a shelf—where it stays, unread, until the following year, when you start the entire process over again.

  • “Even the best-written marketing plans are worthless if they’re not followed. If you don’t follow your own action plan, what’s the point of planning at all?”

Even the best-written marketing plans are worthless if they’re not followed. If you don’t follow your own action plan, what’s the point of planning at all?

The key to a successful marketing plan is not so much the plan itself, but rather what you do with it. If you put it on the shelf and ignore it, you probably won’t achieve your goals. (If, in fact, you even remember what your goals are.) If, on the other hand, you treat your marketing plan as an active document, a set of instructions for your day-to-day marketing activities, you stand a good chance of accomplishing what you set out to do.

I like to revisit the marketing plan on a regular basis—at least quarterly, ideally monthly. You can then gauge your progress on an ongoing basis, and know when you need to shift gears or reassign priorities. If things aren’t going to plan, there’s no shame in changing those goals midstream; better to do this after three or six months than to be a year down the road and discover that you’re not going to get there.

In other words, make your marketing plan a living document. Follow the action plan you set forth, constantly measure your progress to plan, and adapt your plan as necessary throughout the year. This is the way to ensure success—and make the entire planning process worthwhile.

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