How do you tell if your marketing strategy or tactical plan is out of date?

1. You don’t have a plan. The first problem with any plan is having one in the first place. Plans can change, and should change often. It’s important to have one so you don’t succumb to the small business peril of “machine-gun marketing”. Machine gun marketing is firing marketing at every target that comes up – whether it be a random phone call from a vendor selling online marketing services (get listed in Google! take out an ad on our website that nobody visits!) or a well-intentioned local charity looking for sponsorship that doesn’t match up with your market or your brand.

2. Your plan is more than two years old. The internet and consumers both have rapidly matured and the techniques that consumers use to find products and services have evolved.

3. Your plan doesn’t have a focus on content marketing. Content marketing is changing the way that consumers find information – and the way search engines present relevant information in response to a search. Your site has to have content around the keyword phrases your customers are searching for. And it has to be maintained at least three to five times per WEEK for maximum traffic generation.

4. Your plan focuses on social media as a tactic, not a vehicle. Social media is another channel for distribution of your unique content, to share others’ work (your customers, things of interest to your market) and to gain and foster visibility in your industry. Social media, in and of itself will not completely drive your marketing – but it is an instrumental tool in building and enhancing the relationship you have with your customer!

5. Your web site has not been updated in more than two years. The modern business website is a hub of operations for all organizations. It should be device-agnostic, responding to whatever size device a user is visiting it from, it should be content-heavy with relevant, educational and informative information and it should be the central core of your marketing operations with all other activities going out from or coming into (or both) the site. If your site is another marketing tactic, your plan needs revising.

6. Your plan does not include at least a component of inbound marketing. Inbound is driving how marketers are delivering leads to their sales team and driving sales from their web site (hub of operations online.) Without an inbound model – customer seeks, finds relevant interesting content, exchanges their marketing contact information for some informative information of greater value, your business nurtures that lead with more great content until customer themselves decide to do business with you – your business is stuck in an old-fashioned push message model of marketing. There are marketing automation systems that make inbound much, much easier, but it can be done at a basic level with every web site.

7. You don’t love your plan. If you don’t love your marketing plan, you’ll never use it. If it’s too hard, too big, too much, it will gather dust on a shelf. Any plan that’s not executed is a bad plan, no matter how good it might actually be.

When your plan is up to date, and you look at it, love it, and live it every day, then you know it’s working. You can refine, revise and keep moving. Working with a plan makes marketing so much easier. You never have to think about what activities you’ll do today or this week – they’re all mapped out for you. All you have to do is follow them, like a to-do list!

And as we remind clients every day, if you execute your plan, you have 100% chance of success in business!

Learn more on how to update your marketing plan by downloading our mini marketing e-book!