How Often Should I Revise My Marketing Plan & Marketing Strategy?
“The fundamental principles of marketing haven’t changed for decades. What has changed and what continues to change rapidly is the means we use to achieve these marketing objectives.“
AUTHOR’S NOTE: My brain is wired to think conceptually; I naturally have a long-term focus. But as a marketing consultant, I am preoccupied by keeping on the up and up with the latest marketing technologies. I’m probably not the only one that gets sidetracked from time to time. But sometimes, your plan needs to be brought up to speed.
I often say that your marketing plan is the Bible for your company’s marketers. It comprehensively outlines everything marketing managers need to know in order to effectively manage your firm’s marketing activities. Why should you review and revise your marketing plan? Because marketing plans, unlike Bibles, aren’t set in stone. Quite the opposite in fact, marketing plans should be dynamic! So, how often should you review or even change your marketing plan/strategy? There are a few points to consider before answering this question.
Short-term vs. Long-termFinding a balance
Short term pressures.
Companies’ marketing plans are becoming more and more digitally focused. Yet, digital marketing mediums have only recently gained popularity, because most of them didn’t even exist a few years ago! So, a marketing plan that was written 5 years ago would appear to come from the Jurassic age today at the rate that technology is changing the way we do business. I think you get my point: things are moving at an extremely fast pace. So fast, that it may appear as though the minute you write a marketing plan, it has already become out-dated.
But this shouldn’t be the case. Although today’s fast changing marketplace forces managers to concentrate more and more on the short-term, marketing strategies are long-term in nature.
“A sound marketing strategy shouldn’t need to be re-evaluated every year.”
A sound marketing strategy shouldn’t need to be re-evaluated every year. So, It would be important to determine which sections of the marketing plan are susceptible to rapid change and, as a result, should be reviewed more frequently.
The song remains the same. Sort of.
The fundamental principles of marketing haven’t changed for decades. Terms like brand awareness, market penetration, customer satisfaction, top-of-mind awareness, market share, customer loyalty, etc. are still ever-present in today’s marketing plans. What has changed and what continues to change rapidly is the means we use to achieve these marketing objectives. So, the marketing mediums that are outlined in the plan’s marketing mix need to be reviewed frequently because they can quickly become out-dated.
The market research and analysis that was conducted (upon which the marketing plan is based) can change relatively quickly too. Marketing managers should always be monitoring their company’s environment and responding to these changes accordingly.
Another component of the marketing plan that should be under continuous revision is the performance of each marketing activity. Marketers need to measure the results of each and every marketing tool they use to determine its overall efficiency and effectiveness in achieving the plan's marketing objectives.
When to revise what.
As a general guideline, this is how often you should review each component of your marketing plan:
Market Research & Analysis: monitor environment continuously, review annually.
Marketing Strategy: review every 2 years, revise if necessary.
Marketing Objectives: review annually, revise if necessary.
Marketing Mix: review quarterly, revise if necessary.
Financial Projections: compare with results.
Results: monitor and analyze continuously.
Probably the best answer to this question is to use your managerial intuition. Odds are if you think that it is time to revise your marketing plan and make some changes, you are probably right.
It’s important not to let your marketing plan collect too much dust. If you haven’t looked at it in a while, it’s possible that your company’s marketing efforts could be unfocussed, inefficient, ineffective, or out-dated.
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Meet the author.
Meet Fortified Marketing's founder and lead marketing consultant. Taro loves reading fascinating articles on various marketing-related subjects, just as much as he enjoys writing about them. When he isn’t savouring a latte while working on his newest blog post, he can be found at a coffee shop in Ottawa's Little Italy, or marathoning shows and documentaries on Netflix.