Why Marketing Plans Fail and How to Make Sure Yours Doesn’t

Most businesses launch marketing campaigns with the best of intentions.

After all, they wouldn’t throw money and time into just any marketing effort, right?

Unfortunately, good intentions don’t always equal success. In today’s economy—when every dollar counts—creating and executing a marketing plan that actually work is crucial to business success.

Here are five common ways that marketing plans fail. Avoid these mistakes and make sure your plan succeeds:

1. Going for the “latest, greatest” thing.

If you formulate a plan around every new marketing opportunity that comes your way, you’ll never find one that sticks.

Instead of jumping at every new avenue that opens up, focus on a few strategies, test them, measure them, and tweak accordingly. If any of your tactics aren’t paying off, replace them with better options and use the same exercise (implement, test, hone, and keep it or trash it).

2. Taking the focus off your customer.

Everything in your marketing plan should be centered on your customer—not your company.

By putting your ego aside and focusing on what your customers want and need from you—and delivering—you’ll have a much better shot at developing an effective marketing plan.

3. Being too many things to too many people.

Spreading yourself too thin doesn’t work in the business world, where the most successful firms are the ones that clearly define their customer base and then work hard to serve it.

Appeal to a specific niche rather than a general audience, and you’ll be able to develop targeted, efficient marketing programs that withstand the test of time.

4. Setting vague, in-actionable goals.

Saying you want your marketing plan to help you create a $100 million company (when current annual sales are $10 million) or bring in 500 new customers (when you only have 25 right now), is an extremely ineffective way to plan a marketing strategy.

Come up with actionable goals and create a plan for achieving them. Stay away from nebulous aspirations that will only serve to frustrate. Here are a few good examples of actionable goals:

  • Increase website leads by 12 percent
  • Acquire at least two new customers per quarter
  • Increase revenue per customer by 18 percent

5. Not setting forth a clear marketing plan at the outset.

Many businesses have failed because they failed to plan.

By creating a workable marketing plan (and following the tips in this article), you’ll gain a clear vision of where you are, where you want to be, and how you’re going to get there.

Be sure to share your marketing plan with other individuals in your company (such as managers and employees), ask for feedback, and revisit the plan often to make sure it’s still aligned with your overall business goals.

How do you prepare and implement your marketing plan?

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