However, just making a marketing plan won’t necessarily capture the above advantages. In order for the marketing plan to be effective, certain criteria must be met. Marketing plans are professional documents, usually drafted by mid-upper level marketers. Considering the wide variety of considerations, and the significant impact it will have on strategy, constructing a marketing plan carefully is critical to success. Marketers should focus on accomplishing the following five things when building a marketing plan:
- Clarity – It should be simple, straight-forward and clear to everyone. Avoid unnecessary jargon, leave out details that aren’t necessary, and focus entirely on a small number of high impact objectives.
- Data-oriented – Everyone objective and process being suggested should be financially projected and carefully measured. Expected results should be financially-oriented, and everyone should be aware of these financial objectives.
- Focus – A point in everyone direction is the same as no point at all. This is an important issue, as many organizations will eventually make the mistake of running too many directions at once. To avoid this, the marketing plan should be specific on what should be done, and what shouldn’t.
- Realistic – While it may sound obvious, a common mistake in marketing plan development is setting objectives which are out of reach. The logic for this is that it’s always good to have something more to reach for. However, this creates two problems. The first problem is that individuals pursuing these goals will get demotivated, feeling like they are failing. The second problem is that it creates dissonance between the projected results and the real results.
- Alignment – Alignment is more than a boss telling the employees what to do. Alignment requires agreement among all involved parties. All stakeholders should be on the same page, pursuing the same objectives for the same reasons. Management is about creating agreement, not delegating tasks. As a result, the marketing plan should be developed with input from everyone involved.