Top 5 Reasons Your Strategic MarComm Plan Is Failing

“Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” has been said time and time again. As we approach the most common planning season for those on a fiscal calendar year, there are some fundamental mistakes that can be easily avoided to ensure the success of your strategic marketing plan. The top 5 reasons strategic marketing communications plans fail:

1. Pleasing the wrong folks

Your marketing plan should not be aimed to please the CEO, managers, or other supervisors. Rather your plan should be aimed at pleasing your target audience, your customer. Unfortunately, company heads often do not accurately represent the target audience and will not generate the same enthusiasm and responses among customers.

2. One size doesn’t fit all

Trying to be everything to everyone never works in life. In understanding that customer’s buying behavior and preferences vary, segment your customers and incorporate their buying behavior differences into your marketing messages, promotions, and product lines. Execute targeted, more efficient marketing initiatives to competitively position your company or brand.

3. Overdoing it!

A marketing plan does not need to be a dissertation. The actual plan needs to be actionable and doesn’t need to include every possible marketing idea you or your colleague could think of. Think big, then think realistic. For a marketing plan to succeed, it must be executed, and for a plan to be executed, it must be realistic.

4. Out of sight, out of mind

In a world of shiny things, with time stretched thin, “A type” personalities often get side tracked. The minute a marketing plan is filed away is the minute it’s set up to fail. To avoid losing focus, keep your marketing plan visible. I suggest creating a public cheat sheet, a condensed one page version of the marketing plan and posting it next to your computer. A one page plan should identify your goals & strategies, action items, who’s responsible for those action items and timing. It should be easy to understand, easy to monitor and update, and a daily reminder. Posting it publically will help hold you accountable.

Other ways to be reminded of your plan:

– Post goals, action items, and timelines on a bulletin board.
– Establish monthly action items and post publically for colleagues and peers to see.
– Share your action items and timelines with other departments whose involvement can help keep you on task.

5. Not measuring

If you don’t track the results, how will you know if you failed or succeeded in accomplishing your goals? You need to identify the value of your expenditures and measure what’s working and what’s not. If a particular marketing tactic is not providing the results you were expecting, perhaps the plan needs to be adjusted and the investment in that marketing activity reallocated. The tricky part about tracking is that some marketing efforts take longer to track than others. This needs to be taken into consideration when reviewing the return on investment as I don’t recommend jumping ship after a month of execution.

I encourage you to share your marketing strategy challenges and put us to the test in offering insights and recommendations: Vanessa LaCoste,, 414-271-0101.