What do you do when the marketing plan you’ve been working from gets stale? Staying on the present course would be a perfect example of continuing to do the same thing but expecting different results, and that’s never a good idea. You basically have two choices: rework underperforming parts of the plan or scrap the whole thing and start fresh.
In booming real estate markets like Denver, which is home to Lumen Marketing, It’s common for people to buy a house they don’t like in a neighborhood they do, and then “scrape the lot.” The demo crew comes in and fills trash containers on the street with what used to be the house, followed by a construction crew that builds a new house to the specs of the new owners.
But other homeowners choose to stay put and increase their home’s value by remodeling. They might take the rooms down to the studs, but the exterior walls and the framing remain intact. The end result is a home that better meets the owners’ needs and is more likely to attract buyers when it’s time to sell.
Do you see the parallels? It’s a fact of business life that our marketing strategies need refreshing from time to time. Sometimes they might even need to be scrapped – or scraped – and a new one built from scratch. You just need to weigh the options and decide which one will yield the most value for you.
Even in the course of 12 months it’s pretty common for a marketing plan to need a redo because circumstances can and often do change. Continual evaluation and adjustment will keep you on course toward progress. In fact, it’s so important that we recommend scheduling review dates throughout the year.
Clues that a marketing plan needs a remodel:
A campaign starts to fall flat. According to Robert Bly, author of The Marketing Plan Handbook, the first step should be to look at your content, collateral and delivery methods. Make some changes, run some tests and see if results improve. If so, problem solved. “On the other hand,” Bly says in an article for Entrepreneur, “if test after test produces little or no sales, you know your plan — or one or more of its major assumptions — is flawed at the core. Time to gather in the conference room and rethink strategy, approach, and messaging.”
“Even in the course of 12 months it’s pretty common for a marketing plan to need a redo because circumstances can and often do change. Continual evaluation and adjustment will keep you on course toward progress. ”
Conditions shift. It might be your own business priorities. It might be that leaders change their minds. It might even be something in your external landscape, such as the market, the competition, the economy, or new technology. In any of these cases, timely research and proactively revisiting the plan can keep you ahead of shifts and prevent future cracks in your success.
We recommend setting benchmarks for things like sales growth, new business, and customer retention. No doubt you have such goals in mind. By checking in on your marketing performance data regularly, you’ll get a window into how your marketing plan is delivering on your projections. When it begins to show signs of weakness, it’s time to refurbish elements of the plan or start over if the whole thing turns out to have a shaky foundation.
Just like homeowners, business owners have several factors to consider in making a decision
- First, what resources are available to invest?
- Second, is the underlying structure of the marketing plan still strong or, in order to sustain the business, does a new one need to be built?
- Third, what changes need to be made to facilitate growth?
- Fourth, are you equipped to do-it-yourself, or do you need to hire an architect and a contractor? It sometimes makes more sense to hire a marketing consultant.
Making changes to your marketing plan mid-course doesn’t mean you or the plan is a failure
The real failure would be to maintain a course that is not working. Effective marketing means staying flexible.