We’ve spent the past couple months filling you in on all things marketing plans; from what to consider before your start, how to layout the basic framework and what to include, plus the benefits your business will receive as a result of your well thought out plan.
You’ve done the hard work and now you’re ready to put that plan into motion right? Not so fast! That beautiful marketing plan is nothing more than words on paper unless you’ve also included WHO will be carrying out each task and developed a method to ensure each member of your marketing team gets the job done. Without assigning key players to specific roles or action items in your plan, staying on schedule (and on budget) will be much more difficult.
We’ll briefly identify key players that should be included in executing your marketing plan and offer some tips on how to build accountability into your strategy, so everyone knows who is responsible for each task, saving your business time and resources.
Key Players in a Marketing Plan
Each aspect of a marketing plan affects all the others. Having a champion to coordinate the various activities and keep the plan in motion is critical. This person is often a “big picture” person; someone that can take a birds-eye view, but also hone in on each moving part to ensure progress is being made. Speaking of progress, the Manager should also hold all the other members of your team accountable. Setting action items and deadlines for specific tactics in your plan is a must!
Speaking of tactics, one of the most important aspects of your marketing plan is strategies and tactics—the measurable outputs of your ideas. It’s essential to have a person (or persons) who can focus on the details and lay out clear strategies with appropriate, specific tactics based on your target audience, buyer personas and goals. This person should also monitor the effectiveness of specific strategies; thus, strong analytical skills are vital. In some cases, the Strategic Thinker may also be the CEO or COO. This person needs to also ensure that all strategy and tactics align with and support the organization’s business goals.
Your team has really great ideas for attracting new customers and engaging with your current ones, but who’s going to actually provide the content? You need a person on your team who, not only enjoys writing, but knows how to produce the right content for the right audience through the right channel. This person should be a strong communicator and strategist, always circling back to the purpose of the content. Someone who knows a thing or two about grammar and mechanics doesn’t hurt either; spell check doesn’t catch everything and a solid writer will definitely save you time.
Web Site Master/SEO Specialist/Digital Marketer
This day in age, does your business even exist if you don’t have a web site? All kidding aside, a digital presence is becoming even more important as e-commerce and online information searches continue to grow. Whether your marketing plan includes building a new web site or a strategy to grow page impressions and leads, having someone that understands the ins-and-outs of digital tools, including web sites, and more importantly how to attract and engage with potential customers online is only going to strengthen your plan and benefit your business.
Last week we told you about the importance of making room for creative services in your marketing plan and budget. Similar to a writer, having someone that can translate your team’s great ideas, in this case visually, helps make your content memorable, elevating your business in the eye of your customer. Our world is becoming much more visual, especially online and you want to be sure you’re not missing out on online consumers that often have short attention spans. Including a creative role, responsible for pairing graphics and images with the content you’ve carefully crafted will make executing your marketing plan that much smoother.
Dig into Your Team
If you aren’t sure if you have people in your business that can perform the above functions, do a quick assessment of your team’s strengths and personalities. You might not realize you have a person naturally suited to manage your overall marketing plan or a colleague with a knack for design that is looking for a new challenge. Sometimes the people we need are right in front of us, hidden behind their current title.
Depending on the size of your team, you can ask the same person to manage more than one of the above roles or separate them more to be extra specialized. The key is to make sure you have the right person and skill set assigned to each responsibility. If you realize you just don’t have the right skill-set or team currently in your business to fulfill key functions of your marketing plan, consider hiring outside marketing and communications firm to support your efforts.
Key players have been identified. Do they know the parts of the plan they are responsible for carrying out? Ensuring that each person delivers is crucial to the success of your plan and can be as simple as setting up a schedule and assigning action items to the appropriate role. As noted above, this responsibility would largely fall under the Manager. In addition, setting “soft” and “hard” deadlines will help each team member pace out their work load and give everyone plenty of time to review and edit materials before they’re made public. Include the schedule (noting all deadlines) as well as action items in your marketing plan so everyone involved can easily stay on the same page.
Keep in mind that this list of key players is by no means exhaustive or exclusive. Marketing plans are not one size fits all and the same goes for the people involved. Utilize these ideas to determine your own key players, how best to hold them accountable, and to get started today!