Marketing Implementation is the process of taking your marketing plan and assigning team members to execute it, setting deadlines to complete tasks, and creating the collateral needed to achieve your marketing goals.
While a marketing plan lives on paper, it won’t translate to results unless you have a clear implementation strategy to pursue.
A perfect marketing plan has no worth without a proper implementation strategy.
Why Should You Have A Robust Marketing Implementation Strategy?
Having a robust marketing implementation strategy helps you convert your plans into processes. It allows you to have a clear idea about deadlines and the timeline of the projects in hand and adjust your work accordingly.
Without a proper implementation strategy, your team remains informed on what projects to work on at which time and how long each of the tasks should take.
It also helps your team stay focused on the work while having a common goal in mind, which you seek to achieve through your marketing plan.
A good marketing implementation strategy also allows you to prioritize your projects and make sure that crucial tasks aren’t delayed.
In short, your marketing implementation strategy will help you outline the actions of your team in fixed timeframes and help bring your marketing plan to life in the most efficient way.
How To Implement Your Marketing Plan In 11 Steps
If you still haven’t crafted an implementation strategy, here’s a 10 step guide for you to successfully implement your marketing plan and bring your ideas to life.
Set Realistic Expectations
The first step of implementing your marketing plan is to set realistic expectations for everyone involved. Having too optimistic expectations can pressurize your team and make them averse to risks and experimentations.
A common mistake while setting expectations is keeping tight deadlines which ignore the possibilities of an unexpected delay in the process.
The entire process of implementing a marketing plan cannot be controlled strictly by your marketing team since it involves actions by other parties, including the audience. You might need to make adjustments to cope with new developments.
Make sure you have enough room to measure results. Trying to make sense of results too early will lead to an inaccurate assessment of the implementation process.
So set expectations for the implementation process that are aligned to the overall goal of the marketing plan, and are achievable within the set timeframe.
Document Your Implementation Strategy
Now that you have set your expectations for the implementation, make sure you have a documented plan and strategy to guide you through the process.
Improvising the marketing implementation process is a mistake made by too many marketers. The most effective marketing is documented before the plan is implemented. About 16% of marketers document their entire marketing strategy, while others do it partially or avoid it entirely.
This can cause you to lose your efficiency in implementing the marketing plan. However sharp your mind may be, trying to improvise an implementation process will hinder your decision-making, as you have to create tasks on-the-go.
Documenting a marketing strategy helps you spend more time planning each task and time frame carefully, effectively channeling your effort towards achieving your marketing goal.
This doesn't have to be fancy either. I use Google Sheets to document my content strategy.
Start with your goals, which need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Next, try to figure out what internal and external challenges you may face.
Besides, you also need to keep your audience in mind at all times. This helps you keep your marketing strategies aligned with the needs of your audience.
Identify the proper channels to target. You can combine multiple channels according to the presence of your intended audience, including offline, digital marketing and social media.
Your brand message should also be an important part of your overall goal, as you want your marketing efforts to be recognizable by your audience and aligned with your brand identity.
Set a realistic marketing budget and timeline, along with room to extend if needed. Finally, make sure you have appropriate KPIs to measure your performance accurately.
Having all these documented properly will give you concrete guidelines to refer to during the implementation process.
Build a Great Team
A great marketing team is a competitive advantage that you can build on. After all, marketing is about the people.
Assess the needs of your marketing plan and determine what skills and resources to complete the marketing activities to make achieving your goals a reality.
For a marketing department, you can either have your in-house team do the work or hire an external agency to do so. You also have the option to combine both. For example, if you're a small business, you can collaborate with an agency to do all your design work and let your in-house team take care of the rest.
The next step is to make sure your team has the right tools at their disposal. Building the right tool stack can be challenging, especially if you are trying something different with your marketing plan. Experiment with tools and techniques to see what works best for your team and your execution strategy.
Once you have your team and equipped them with tools, it’s time to move on to create outlines on how they will use these tools.
Optimize Your Workflows
Building workflows for each task gives your marketing team a clear idea of how to approach them and when to adjust the marketing program. The purpose of making specific workflows is to identify the most efficient way of completing a task using as few steps as possible.
The first step of making workflows is mapping out the tasks needed to be completed. After defining the steps involved in completing the task, your marketing managers can assign them to the team members and set a deadline.
Once you've built a map of the tasks that need to be completed, you can then build out a template for how to get things done.
For instance, this is a template that we use to create our writing briefs.
However, you must keep in mind that you might need to adjust the workflows during the implementation process. It is essential to collaborate with your team in this regard. Having inputs from your team about the workflows may help you discover a more efficient way of doing things.
So build workflows beforehand, and keep optimizing as much as you need to make the implementation process smooth and efficient.
Create a Timeline for Tasks
Creating a timeline is essential for your strategy implementation as it helps you and your team realize if you are on track to finish the tasks on time.
You can do so by breaking down each of your tasks and assigning deadlines to each. This will help your team stay on top of the progress and not scramble to meet project deadlines.
You can divide your projects into phases and work with your team to get a realistic idea of how long each phase should be. You can also use equally spaced phases and work backward from your deadline to assign tasks in each phase.
Once you have your timeline established, keep revising it as you proceed to help you adjust to any delays or setbacks.
Manage Your Projects Efficiently
Project management is an important part of the marketing implementation process. This involves making necessary adjustments when needed or prioritizing tasks to achieve the best possible results. This can be easily achieved by making use of any project management tool available in the market.
As mentioned earlier, the implementation process involves actions by your audience too. So there is an unpredictable element to it, which you need to be prepared to tackle.
Have enough flexibility in managing projects to make changes without hampering the progress of the project or without having to restart the entire project.
Besides, you need to make sure you are prioritizing high-value tasks and maintain swift communication with your team.
Monitor Progress Regularly
Since a marketing implementation is a dynamic process, you need to monitor and track your progress regularly.
Monitoring involves tracking your progress to see whether you are on pace to meet your next target in terms of time, resources and budget. You also have to monitor the consumer-end to understand which efforts are working with your audience and which are not.
Monitoring allows you to be prepared to take steps for tackling any issue before they cause a problem.
Set specific intervals and metrics for monitoring your progress and keep revising them too.
Make Necessary Changes to Optimize Results
One of the reasons for monitoring your progress is to identify opportunities to make adjustments to your marketing implementation strategy.
Apart from monitoring your efforts and results, you also need to consider external factors, including market trends and economic factors, to be able to make necessary adjustments if needed.
Once you have identified the opportunity or need for adjusting your marketing efforts, first try to build on the existing efforts. If that doesn’t work, reconsider your tactic and try to look for new ways to approach the issue.
You might want to channel your efforts to achieve growth by coming up with new ways to engage with your audience.
While your carefully documented marketing implementation strategy can guide you through the process, it is wise to have enough flexibility to deviate from it to get better results.
Have a Contingency Plan
Having a backup plan if your original one doesn’t work will save you the time and effort to start back from scratch if a part of your implementation strategy isn’t working.
Contingency plans also allow you to have room for error, which encourages your team to experiment with new ideas. If any new ideas fail, then you always have your contingency plan as a fall-back option.
But keep in mind that since it’s a fall-back option, you need to be a little conservative and avoid including bold ideas in it. It is also wise to keep extended timelines in your contingency plans as it will make up for any time wasted to shift to your Plan B.
Review and Measure Results
Once your implementation plan is up and running, you might try to stop and try to understand how your current efforts and progress fit your overall goal.
This will help you understand if you are on track to achieve the desired results or even help you identify opportunities to improve your workflows.
Try to understand which phase of the broad timeline your team is currently in and whether they are producing the expected results. You can also get an idea if you need to expand your team and diversify the skillset of your team.
While reviewing your results, work backward and try to understand what strategies, tools, or approaches are contributing to the results.
Take this opportunity to gather feedback from your team about the progress of the implementation plan. They might have insights to add which can prove to be valuable for your current project or future ones.
Communicate the Final Results
By now, you have documented and executed your marketing implementation strategy and measured your results. But your work is not done yet.
Communicate the results to your team and congratulate them. While it might look like a small step for you, it goes a long way to boost your team’s motivation.
If they have worked exceptionally, let them know how great their efforts have been and try to reward them for it. If they’ve failed to meet the project expectations, provide constructive feedback and guidance on how to improve in the next project.
Finally, to give them a broader picture, you can also let them know how their efforts have created a difference in consumers’ lives.
While this 10 step guide gives you an overview of the marketing implementation process, please note that implementing a marketing plan can vary based on the industry, product/service type, or even company culture.
Consider this a starting point and adjust it according to the needs of your company. The basics are simple – craft a strategy, break them down to actionable tasks, monitor regularly and keep on improving.