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How to ensure your future marketing plan succeeds

by Antony Mayfield

October 27, 2021

Here’s a thought experiment for every marketing leader. If your strategic marketing plan was a website and you could measure and track each team’s progress through it – where would they go? What would they look at first? What would they miss altogether? And, over time, which pages would actually get referenced and which would never be seen or heard again?

It would be interesting – no? Maybe even a little scary. After expending all the time and resources on crunching the data, politicking the details, and fighting the corners for budgets, the outcome report lands in your inbox.

If you could see who was really engaging with what, it might be depressing to discover how infrequently most people look at it. If you couldn’t bear to look, it’s time to start asking why.

So, how can you improve and ensure future marketing performance by creating a plan that your teams will actually use?

Who gives a sheet?

Your strategic planning process involves much more than a stack of spreadsheets, in-depth documents, and decks of hundreds of slides – that’s all below the waterline. The tip of the iceberg is your internal communications.

How you communicate the plan to your teams should set a clear, easily-referenced vision that will inspire your entire organization through lasting marketing transformation. That’s too valuable an asset to be collecting dust.

The best things come in small packages

A recent study by Microsoft found that the average human attention span is now just eight seconds long, having reduced by about 25% in just a few years. And, speaking of websites, research by The Nielsen Norman Group has shown that users will read, at most, 28% of the words during a site visit.

If those statistics indicate one thing to marketing leaders, it’s that the best guiding resources are going to be the ones communicated in as few minutes and words as possible.

All plans created by the wisest of good-in-a-crisis leaders or start-up pioneers have one thing in common: they fit on one page. Why? Because these leaders have always had to deal with extreme uncertainty as a given.

There’s nothing simple about marketing strategy, but it’s your job as a leader to make it look that way. The one-page plan provides the ideal visual, repeatable and flexible format needed to eliminate confusion or diversion around your organization’s goals, culture, and strategy.

How to create a plan and actually use it

The one-pager is your internal communications. If you don’t have much time and resources left to waste, you need to get it right.

Step 1: Choose your template – With a huge range of tried and tested one-page formats already out there and being used in the wild, a lot of the design work has already been done for you – it’s just up to you to slap your strategy in there. From the Gartner template to the Business Model Canvas, they all have their pros and cons, so experiment and have a play to figure out what’s right for your team.

Step 2: Say it loud – If the one-page plan is the promise, then using it in every key interaction is how to keep it. Consider when and how it can pop up and reinforce itself at every opportunity – in regular team meetings, one-to-ones, communications, etc.

Step 3: Make it visible – The plan should be seen in the hands of the leaders – literally. Print one out to use in meetings, or whack a large version on the wall by your desk so that’s easily referenced and read with pride.

Step 4: Let it evolve – Sometimes a one-pager will need to be updated. Don’t feel discouraged – it just means it’s living, breathing, and being used. A plan with a new goal thanks to new knowledge is a better fit today than it was yesterday.

Your next marketing plan for 2022 and beyond can and should be an exciting and transformative process for your entire marketing operations.

Want to learn more? If you're ready to down size click here, to download our brand new, more detailed guide to one-page planning, including our very own template ready for you to try right now.

Any questions? Get in touch to find out what else we can do to help you.


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