Marketing campaigns fail mainly because they are executed without any well defined strategies.
By well defined strategies I strictly mean;
“the strategies which have been written down on a piece of paper and posted on a whiteboard/wall of your office for everyone to see and for you to act as a daily reminder.”
“If the strategy is not written down then it is just an intention, a delusion of strategy”
These types of intentions and delusions aren’t marketing plans, never could be and they are quickly forgotten/abandoned once you stop consciously thinking about them every single day.
According to a study from British Journal of Heath Psychology, 91% of people who wrote down their intentions to do exercise every week, ended up following through, compared to only 39% of people who didn’t write down their intentions.
There are over 100 studies which have shown that just by writing down your intentions/ideas and deciding well in advance how, when and where you will take specific actions, you can double or triple your chances of achieving your business and marketing goals.
Every sensible marketer and business owner have some sort of plan regarding how they will achieve their goals. But the problem is, for majority of us, these plans exist only in our head and not on a piece of paper.
What is the downside of just keeping the marketing plan in your head?
1. Your marketing plan most likely remain a set of some vague thoughts and intentions – a written down plan will force you to clarify things. It will force you to define success and failure and most importantly create some ‘process’. It is as simple as that.
2. Your marketing plan will most likely deteriorate– Since your marketing plan exists only in your head, you need to consciously remember it every single day.
You need to remember each and every step of your plan, otherwise you will waste lot of time each day thinking, “what should I do next?” With the passage of time as you get preoccupied with other things, you tend to forget important aspects of your plan.
3. You will miss out on collective wisdom – Since the marketing plan exists only in your head, you are not really accountable to anyone which in the end is only going to haunt you.
If you write down your marketing plan then others (your colleagues, boss, clients or business partners) would get the chance to look at it, review it and give their opinion. Thus you will get the opportunity to refine your plan through collective wisdom.
There is an old saying, “Two heads are better than one”. If you are surrounded by people who are as intelligent, experienced and knowledgeable as you are, then why you should not take advantage of their expertise and wisdom? Why keep your marketing plan to yourself and risk failure?
4. Measuring progress is going to be very difficult – since nothing (from baseline measurement, goals , KPIs, strategies to deadlines) has been written down, it is very hard to figure out where you were, where you are now and where you are heading to.
5. Keeping yourself motivated is going to be a constant battle – A written down plan will motivate you to take actions every single day as you can see it on the wall, right in front of you. It will stop you from getting distracted and keep you on the right path.
In short, you will have a hard time following through with your marketing goals without a written down marketing plan.
I know what you are thinking now. “I want to write down my plan but I just can’t figure out how and when“. Guess what, you are not alone. I faced this problem too. But I have found one simple solution. And the solution is “just do it“.
If you start your marketing plan with the aim that it has to be perfect or it has to be super detailed then most likely you will give up once you can’t seek such perfection.
Perfection is the enemy of good enough. Start with a good enough marketing plan and then execute it. Don’t expect your very first plan to be the very best. Many people fall into this trap and remain busy perfecting their plan instead of taking action. Finally when they can’t find a way to perfect their plan, they give up.
You can refine your marketing plan only through execution. Execute your plan, measure results, refine and repeat. It takes hundreds of iterations to even come close to creating a great marketing plan. So make sure that you execute your plan and not just spend all of the time in creating it.
Read this article to learn more about creating a marketing plan: 6 Simple steps to Create and Analyze a Marketing Strategy
So, Write it down and Make it happen 🙂