Senior marketer and brand enthusiast This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. leverages years of experience in....more

The Dance: The Marketing Plan Approval Process

At the end of every year marketers attend a dance with the executives of their companies to get approval of the annual marketing plan. Many times their plan gets picked apart and the marketer is left frustrated and feeling like he or she has put too much energy into something not worthwhile. But I’m here to tell you that the time and energy put into a carefully laid plan is absolutely worthwhile to the success of the overall business strategy, even if the work gets picked apart.

If you are one of these disheartened marketers, I suggest you change your perspective the next time you attend the dance (I mean, meeting). Your role is to inform the executives of what is available in the world of communications, and their role is to provide input and direction based on their knowledge and experience. Consider the planning meeting the “first iteration” of your final plan, but make sure you have a very thorough and cohesive one to present.
Here is the start to a healthy approach to preparing your marketing planning.
Align Your Plan With The Business Strategy
Your plan needs to outline the communication tactics for the various market sectors the business approaches. Product management can provide the long-term and short-term roadmaps for their approach, and your marketing communications plan should support their plan within the targeted time frame.

Research Every Opportunity to Connect with Your Customer
To differentiate yourself, you need to communicate with the marketplace in a way that they will receive your message. The options are constantly changing and your job is to stay on top of the common as well as unique ways to connect with the market. This collection can be vast and sometimes random or even seemingly nonsensical, but still collect them because you never know what message your may need to take to market and your job is to present avenues to do so in a memorable and engaging way.
Remember, your plan is developed to give you direction and communicate with the organization. It is not inflexible. As General George S. Patton said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” Stay flexible and take advantage of what opportunities unveil themselves as the year progresses.
Stay on top of your game. Be prepared with a very thorough plan but remain open for change. The organization’s leadership will make changes based on information and experience you do not have. It’s their company and they hired you for bringing the best opportunities forward. Don’t waste time and energy being defensive. Let them tear apart your good work and keep the frame of mind that this is a healthy part of the process.

Stay tuned for Part Two –
Determine Your Marketing Budget
 & Track Progress and ROI Quarterly

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