Marketing Plans! Marketing people love their plans. Not just building the plan but the whole process. Negotiating the budget (then whinging about lack of budget), allocating the spend across channels, costing up the creative ideas, sourcing and speaking to agencies. They love it – their own little fiefdom. So much time thinking about so much money and resource and activity.

The object of the exercise should be to sell more of a certain product or service – either directly or indirectly. Not everything is direct response and sales driven. There is a whole range of things to achieve, creating a brand, building that brand, raising awareness, creating the ‘buzz’. So many different marketing levers to pull before the customers part with their money and buy the product.

Where the time isn’t always spent is measuring the Marketing plan, seeing whether the plan achieved what it set out do. It can be too easy to just roll into the next years plan, more of the same with a tweak here and there, the new creative idea, the latest social media trend. It all just rolls on without anyone putting too much effort into seeing whether it actually works.

In smaller businesses, the marketing plan can be a little less formal and a lot more fluid. A lot more ad hoc, ideas that come from external agencies, more a roll of the dice. Greater focus on short term sales, reactive stuff rather than longer term brand building or strategic projects. The common factor is that the effort goes into the creation at the start (the exciting bit) rather than the measurement at the end (the dull bit!).

I’m one of those boring measurement people. I like to see if it’s worked (I know…yawn!). If I’ve spent a pound, I want to see how much brand awareness it has bought, how many leads I’ve gained, how my conversion has increased…. Even how many sales! I tend to write down all these measures as part of the plan, so I know what I’m measuring from the outset.

If you’re not a measurement person normally, then now is the time to change that (at least temporarily). This is a great opportunity to dig into the different elements of your marketing activity and see if it works for you. The digital part of that can be quite easy – although stay focussed on what you set out to achieve, don’t get distracted by the plethora of numbers. There are other parts that can be more vague as to whether they have been a success, and you have to be more creative around deciding whether you are getting a wider non-measurable benefit.

By doing an audit (even an informal one as in this tutorial), you are better informed as to whether your marketing is working and where you should be allocating your time, resource and money going forward. For many businesses, marketing spend is one of the biggest costs to the business. Used correctly, it is the activity that can take you to new heights. Incorrectly, its just a total waste. Have a look at your marketing and make it work better for you.   Go to oneobjective.co.uk/tutorials to find the task

Chris Perkins is a Part Time Marketing Director, working with clients to provide marketing leadership, strategy and direction. This course has been designed as a FREE to access resource to enable SME business owners and teams to create a workable business plan through a series of simple exercises.

If you require further help to manage your marketing strategy and execution, please email chris@oneobjective.co.uk