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Five Reasons Your Strategic Marketing Plan Might Fail and How to Avoid Them

“The best-laid schemes of mice and men often go askew.” ⏤ Robert Burns

Autumn means Q4 is in the air. It’s that most wonderful time of year when many companies start thinking about their strategic marketing plan process for the upcoming year. 

But the bad news for many of them is that their marketing or strategic plans will most likely fail. In fact, according to McKinsey & Company Senior Partner Harry Thompson, 70 percent of all business transformations fail and in another study cited in Forbes, an average of 50% of strategic planning executions fail.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are some fairly common mistakes that businesses make when they are creating and executing their strategic marketing plans.  Knowing what they are in advance can help you increase your success rate.

Mistake 1: Not starting from the top down

One of the most common errors a business leader will make is not setting  high enough aspirations or goals for the marketing strategic plan. Or, worse yet, they don’t share their vision or build the conviction of the plan within their organization.

If your team doesn’t understand where the company needs to go or why change needs to happen, then the chances are pretty good that it is not going to happen. It’s important to clearly communicate the priorities and be committed to the strategic planning process. 

Simply put, this clarity and communication starts at the top.

Mistake 2: Not getting your team on your team

Engagement can be difficult, especially when there is a lack of understanding and clearly defined responsibilities. To combat this, you’ll need to boost the level of two-way communication and ensure your team members are on board with the vision and excited to create change.

Yes this requires extra effort on everyone’s part, but trust us… the results are worth the effort!

Mistake 3: Forgetting to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

A big, hefty document may feel satisfying to plunk on your desk, but be honest with yourself:  Will it ever get done? Better to keep your goals manageable and easy to track and measure.  

It’s also a lot more effective to be able to communicate your pared-down goals to the team that will carry them out and to the key stakeholders that want to know how well you are doing. Making things overly complex will take a lot of the impact out of your plan.

For this reason, we advise our clients to focus on annual year plans (versus the standard 3-5 years) and no more than 3-4 goals per year. 

Mistake 4: Not Investing adequately in resources

Nineteenth century art critic John Ruskin was ahead of his time when he said “Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.”

Changing an organization — or simply improving it — takes time and energy from everyone involved. One mistake many leaders make is the lack of investment into a major strategic plan. If the company expects the key duties to be carried out by a group of employees, it’s absolutely vital to free them up so they won’t suddenly have two full-time jobs!

As the leader of your company, you want your employees to take the responsibility of successfully executing your plan. But if you don’t give them the resources or the time to execute the plan successfully… they can’t and they won’t.

Mistake 5: Not knowing where the buck stops

Who will be responsible for the oversight in executing your plan?  Successful roadmaps just don’t happen by magic!  You will need to assign key staff to be involved and you will need to outline their roles. Ambiguity is never good when executing strategic marketing plans.

So ask yourself:  What happens if there are delays?  What happens if goals are not met?  Are you able to deal with changes that must be made in the middle of your plan execution?

It’s extremely important to clarify who is responsible for what part of your plan and to have those folks maintain accountability. 

If you need some help…… let us know!

If you’d like to get some help on carrying out the execution of your own marketing roadmap, book a free 30-minute strategy session with us and we can talk it through! We’ve also got experts available for a quick call to answer any questions.

Regardless of where you are in your business journey, discover redMAP and let us guide you through a process of building a custom roadmap for you that is actionable and easy to understand.