How Effective is your Marketing Plan?

How much of your day is spent Reacting?

you can't change events, but you can change your preparationIt’s a curious question, and one that I would love to see a poll taken among marketers.  How much time is actually spent executing a clearly developed plan, as opposed to reacting to whims, fires and shiny objects.  What is the result of your typical work day- was it spent reacting to situations as opposed to following a schedule?  80-20 to reacting?  50-50?  Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who spends 90% of their day executing strategies instead of reacting to random events throughout your day.

I used to think that those were the special people – those that were calm, cool, able to make things happen, while the rest of us were at the mercy of market forces and the daily grind.  Until I realized the value of using data to predict events, trends and seasons – and then translated that data into a clear plan of attack.  By utilizing the same data-based approach for our clients, we have been able to bring the same sense of freedom, liberation and accomplishment to their days.

The Key of Preparation

Louis Pasteur said that “Fortune favors the prepared mind.”  Or, as others have said it, “luck favors the prepared.”  By using the data available within your own organization, you can create a very basic plan of attack for the trends and events in your industry.   Beyond that, I am amazed at the amount of companies that use Search Engine Optimization in their websites, but neglect to use the same data to see search trends, search words and other important factors that shed light on how their target audience  searches for information!

Much the the information you need to create a clear content marketing plan is contained within your own organization, or only a few clicks away. By developing a clear content plan first, the matter becomes one of execution and finding the most ideal channels to market your content.

Content Marketing – an Old New Concept

Content Marketing is the new catchphrase for this year, as evidenced by the hundreds of webinars, articles and conference sessions on the matter.  Simply put, content marketing is finding the best and ideal channel to publish, extend or market your content.  Not all of your content can or should be marketed through Facebook.  Not all of your content can or should be pushed through Twitter.

Well, technically it can – but what is the method or channel that is the most effective for your business?  If you can’t answer that, then you are reacting to what others are saying (external influences), rather than reacting to the data that lights your plan.  Effective content marketers are also ones that measure the results of their content as it is pushed through multiple channels – channels that are selected on the basis of audience, segmentation, marketing plans and targeted relationships – not accidents.

The Safety of a Marketing Plan

I find that organizations with a plan are able to react intelligently – if they react at all to unexpected events.  You see, the plan keeps everything in check.  The plan keeps everyone working towards the same goal, and the data shows progress towards the goal.  If strategies need to be adjusted, the data will show how.

Organizations without a plan react emotionally to unexpected events.  Usually, it would have been best to do nothing at all, and the reaction creates more work, created more problems and the inability or reluctance to measure provides no feedback or measurement towards the goal.  Thus, chaos ensues.

The question:

So, how much of your day will be spent planning or reacting today?