I’ve been in a particular situation where looking ahead and planning was, let’s say, more than frowned upon. In my opinion, without a plan, you’re up sh*ts creek without a paddle. Of course, it’s one thing to plan and not execute. But it’s another to plan, execute, and find new ways to improve the original plan. It takes time, research, and analysis. So here is what I typically like to do when taking on a new marketing team or joining a new company entirely.
1. Assess the situation. Meet with any and all potential players and get a sense for what the biggest hurdles are and where the low hanging fruit can be found.
2. Based on your findings, create a high level plan of what needs to be accomplished in a set period of time, be it three months, six months, or a year.
3. Look into what challenges need to be overcome in order to get to the next step. In my case it was: figure out which markets we need to focus on in the upcoming year and then figuring out how we will reach the target audiences in those markets.
4. Begin to set your plan into motion by changing up the marketing mix, and introducing new processes, within the department in order to meet the overall business goals & objectives. Although, this might not be necessary in all situations.
5. Create a marketing roadmap. The way I’ve done things in the past was diving things up by markets, this may not be ideal in every industry. I would then look at when the buying times occurred for those markets and hit them during those strategic times, all the while preparing content ahead of time in order to be prepared. This won’t always work out of the gate unless you’re being brought in to a smooth running machine that simply needs a leader.
6. Set the roadmap in motion and observe. Look into the metrics and see what’s working, and what needs tweaking. This will help you not only assess the overall marketing situation but also learn about what works and doesn’t in your new industry, or market, or…whatever.
7. After about three months, or a quarter, take a look at the body of work. What do you need to put more focus on? What is working better than expected and hence needs more man power? What needs to be moved on from? Based on your analysis, set up the next quarter’s plan but continue to adjust as needed as you might now be focusing on an entirely different audience that likes to consume their information in an entirely different way.
8. Start to think about the bigger missing pieces and how you’ll fill the gaps. In my experience, content creation and content strategy has been the biggest hurdle to over come. Everyone needs to be on the same page and that page takes a long time to turn. You need to prove the reasons why you need a strategy and then get everyone on it. Without that, you are constantly chasing. But in order to get people to understand its importance you need to show some kind of metrics that prove that what you are doing is working. Metrics such as more eyes on your site, leads from paid eblasts, or more sales from certain social platforms or digital publications.
9. Present your future plan with an explanation as to why it is needed. Explain why you need everyone to collaborate together, and works towards the same goal. In some cases this might be a no brainer, but be prepared to really have to dive deep on this one.
10. Measure, measure, measure. You should never stop. Digital marketing is always changing. New platforms pop up, new metrics get unveiled, and you need to stay on top of it. Don’t let people tell you “You shouldn’t be doing that, just delegate.” Sometimes, you need to do something yourself, especially if that something is a new strategy or if it’s something that was broken in the past and someone really needs to dive deep to figure out the issues before handing it off.
Plan, execute, measure, repeat!