Marketing plans should​ come with an eraser

KEY IDEA: The economy, and consumers, are moving very quickly today. Trends that were once considered investment worthy could disappear in days not weeks. Your marketing plan needs to be flexible and today many people question whether managers should even spend so much time developing marketing plans.

If you’re in marketing there is a good chance you spent weeks, and possibly, months, developing marketing plans. It probably involved a lot of PowerPoints as well as attending endless meetings. The problem with all this is that many marketing plans aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

Consumers today are fickle. They might decide to boycott a brand because they didn’t do something they should have done while they continue to support brands that trample on their privacy. As I wrote earlier late last year I expected soda sales to tank even though Diet Coke was trying to say their new flavors were saving the brand. Now Pepsi and Coke are both planning massive budget cuts and even layoffs. So much for the marketing plan.

Fake news

Fake news has impacted marketing. According to Fakespot 30 percent of Amazon reviews are fake or unreliable and 52 percent of reviews posted on are “inauthentic and unreliable. This means that consumers are going to have to do more research to determine whether or not to give you their hard earned dollars. The best marketing in the world is not going to save a brand from consumers who say “your product stinks” yet marketers believe big data and AI is going to save them.

The business world is suffering from ambition hyperinflation.

The wisdom of setting business goals—always striving for bigger and better—is so established that it seems like the only thing left to debate is whether the goals are ambitious enough.

Goals are fake. Nearly all of them are artificial targets set for the sake of setting and chasing goals often leads companies to compromise their morals, honesty, and integrity to reach those fake numbers targets.

If you must have a goal, how about just staying in business? Or serving
your customers well? Or being a delightful place to work? Just because these goals are harder to quantify does not make them any less important.

When you stick with planning for the short term, you get to change your mind often. And that’s a huge relief! Long-term planning instills a false sense of security. The sooner you admit you have no idea what the world will look like in two years, three years, or even one year, the sooner you’ll be able to move forward without the fear of making the wrong big decision years in advance.

Do you need a marketing plan? That depends. If it involves hundreds of hours the answer is “no”. It’s it’s a point in time to say “what are the opportunities and how can we leverage them?” the answer is yes. We need more time actually doing and less time actually playing chess.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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