By the time you get to this stage in your marketing plan, you’ll likely be sick of planning. You’ll be good and ready to actually do something.
You know what that means, right? This is where the rubber meets the road. Everything to this point has been theoretical. Now it’s time to shift gears.
Which makes this a pivotal moment.
How to completely mess up your marketing plan
Even if you’ve managed to work your way gracefully through all the previous seven steps, this is when your team will be tempted to get more dramatic than that random Facebook friend who keeps posting wildly polarizing things.
You know the one. Stop it, Randy. You don’t have to share every socio-political view you have.
How do you avoid the drama? In our years of experience, we’ve discovered some key strategies for keeping things peaceful and collaborative. Keep in mind, we learned these by trial and error. When we ran headlong into a brick wall, we took the time to go back and ask how we could have avoided it.
This is your chance to learn from our reflections. Even if you feel confident your team is well prepared to make your marketing plan a raving success, we encourage you to read each and every one of the lessons we’ve learned.
You don’t need to headbutt any brick walls we’ve already figured out how to go around.
This is not a democracy
The idea of democracy is so ingrained in us that we often try to apply it where it doesn’t fit. Like your marketing plan.
If you’ve followed our suggestions to this point, you’ve already given your team plenty of opportunities to share their thoughts, goals and ideas. They should feel heard. Now that you’re moving into the action phase, it’s time to focus on doing things, not talking about doing things.
And we’ll let you in on a secret. You’re going to run into snags.
You’ll A/B test an email subject line and both of them will suck. The theater you booked for a movie premiere event will back out with short notice. You’ll discover that your initial KPIs are way off.
When those things happen, it’s fine to ask your team what they think. But don’t make decisions as a committee—especially in situations where there’s a time crunch. The buck stops with you (or your marketing point person, if you’ve appointed one).
This is a benevolent dictatorship, not a democracy.
The easy way is easier
The easier you can make your marketing efforts, the better.
If your marketing plan forces you to choose between two options, ask yourself which one you can shift to more conveniently. There are enough moving parts in the marketing machine. Don’t go throwing a wrench in the works by opting for complexity when there’s a simple alternative.
For example, complicated web design with custom animations, slide-in graphics and an elaborate sitemap can be impressive. But if this is your first time building out a custom website, it’s far smarter (and faster) to hold off on those things.
Cover the essential bases. Build a solid site. You can have all the bells and whistles later. Get the basic foundation in place first.
Ain’t no time for stories
A funny thing happens when you start tracking marketing success. Everyone has an opinion about why some things work and some things don’t. And those opinions? They rarely have anything to do with the facts.
Your marketing plan is really one big experiment. Sure, there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. (You’re reading this guide. That’s a good start.) But the only way to know for sure what works and what doesn’t is to try things.
When you come across strategies that don’t work, resist the urge to explain your results based on gut instincts.
If your PPC campaign crashes and burns (ouch!), don’t immediately assume the keywords were all wrong. Maybe they were. Maybe that’s exactly the cause. But you can’t know that intuitively.
Instead, dig into the data. Data never lies.
Of course, you can’t dig into the data if you don’t have data to dig into. We recommend a tool for managing your marketing plan, like Honey, the first and only CRM designed specifically for the IT industry.
Don’t draw conclusions based on stories. Instead, listen to the data.
Give it time
Once you start your marketing plan, you’re going to want to see results. And even if we tell you to be patient, you’re going to want to see them fast.
But it’s not like you can send out your first email and then come back an hour later to see if it was a success. Marketing doesn’t work that way.
Successful marketing is a slow burn. Even when there’s some epic high point, it doesn’t happen overnight. Most companies that see breakthrough success have been plugging away with their marketing plans for years before they get to that point.
That’s not to say you won’t see results quickly. You can and should. But you can’t judge the overall success of your marketing plan based on the first few weeks. You need to be prepared to wait a little longer.
We recommend giving any specific strategy you try a minimum of a quarter before you dig too deep into the analytics. If you try to assess things sooner, you won’t really get a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t.
The hardest part
Even if you avoid every other possible drama pitfall when it comes to your marketing plan, there’s one final obstacle that every leader needs to actively avoid.
Your own opinion.
It’s your company. That means it’s not just business for you. It’s personal. That’s doubly true if you’re the founder and owner. And because that’s true, it’s a monumental task to separate yourself from your baby. Your business isn’t just a job. It’s most likely a passion project for you.
That’s a good thing. Use that passion to make your marketing plan as solid as possible. Just don’t let your passion for your company’s success get in the way.
You’re going to have opinions about the kind of marketing you like. Sometimes strong opinions. Your preferences should absolutely play a role in the decision-making process, but the minute they get in the way of effective marketing, there’s a problem.
We encourage you to invite candid feedback from your team. Get their genuine buy-in. Even ask them to be brutally honest when it comes to the marketing plan and analytics. Open communication with your team can help you avoid accidental bias.
Don’t let your opinion as the leader turn into an obstacle.
Avoid it by being ready for it
The famed Irish playwright Sean O’Casey once said, “All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.”
Oh boy, is that right.
The key to avoiding drama is to be ready for it. We’ve covered some of the most common drama traps you’re likely to encounter as you put your marketing plan into action. In the next part, we’re going to talk about reviewing your data and making tactical adjustments. But first, we’d like to add one more thing.
Remember what you’ve learned about avoiding drama and apply it to the entire process.
When marketing really works, it tends to tap into passion. That’s true for the target audience and that’s true for the people behind the marketing. Passion is good, but it can easily turn into drama if you don’t keep your guard up.
Through each phase of your marketing plan, do what you can as a leader to steer your team away from drama.
Try Honey now
If you’re looking for a CRM tool that was designed specifically for the IT industry, look no further. Honey will help you keep track of all your marketing campaigns, as well as leads, prospects, quotas and goals.
And you can get a free 30-trial by clicking the button below. Why not start your marketing plan the right way with the best IT-specific tool around?