Our Top 6 Marketing Plan Failures and How to Fix Them

by Debra Andrews | January 10, 2018

We believe that now is the time to focus on getting on track for growth. If you ignore fixable marketing plan failures and your competitors’ plans seem turbocharged, you have a serious problem. Every moment you let your company be out-planned and out-worked, you risk losing the mindshare and business of existing and prospective customers.

So let’s get you moving by taking a look at six common marketing plan failures for B2B companies and how to fix them.

1.  Fail to start with a go-to-market strategy.

All middle-market / Fortune 5000 companies need to have a go-to-market strategy. Where are your best growth opportunities based on current market penetration, unique capabilities, and competition? Marketing needs this information prior to starting a marketing plan, or the document will have disconnected activities, talent, and technologies.

Remedy: Start the planning process with a well-defined strategy that spells out which segments are the best growth opportunities and which products and services will be promoted.

2.  Don’t align your marketing plan with in-house talent.

Companies often change their marketing approach based on trends but fail to hire or engage the talent to execute with experience and confidence. For example, if one of your goals is to grow digital marketing to better align outreach with how buyer’s buy, you’ll need to have talent knowledgeable about digital marketing approaches and technologies.

Remedy: Firms can rely on outsourced talent, such as a Fractional CMO, to lead the implementation of the marketing plan and assist in-house personnel acquire new skill sets through on-the-job and classroom training. This tends to be a highly cost-effective way to bolster resources on a variable cost basis. Alternatively, companies can hire marketing talent with the skills needed.

3.  Put the marketing budget in place before the plan.

In many organizations, the Finance Department leads the budgeting process and it’s often disconnected from the creation of marketing plans.  This creates a bottleneck during the marketing plan implementation process because parts of the plan aren’t funded while other things that aren’t in the plan hold the budget dollars hostage.

Remedy: Finance should discuss the budget timeline with marketing so that the marketing plan can be created and approved prior to the creation and approval of the budget.

4.  Don’t coordinate marketing and sales efforts.

Buyers don’t distinguish between marketing and sales and are squarely in charge of their own buying journeys. Therefore, companies and their marketing and sales departments need to plan together to align activities and campaigns to build awareness, gain consideration, close new business, and engage existing customers.

Remedy: Companies should have one “Revenue Plan” that incorporates both sales and marketing goals, activities, campaigns, and measures. It’s a huge culture change but the firms first to jump on board will win.

5.  Fail to get down to the details.

Marketing plans need to start big picture with goals and strategies but eventually flow down to the most granular level – who is going to do what and by when.  When plans lack this level of specificity, the implementation lacks a healthy pace or veers off-course.

Remedy: Once a marketing plan is approved, ensure that there’s a three-month rolling timeline at all times throughout the year.  Be sure that your company’s plan timeline breaks down larger projects into smaller milestones and include dates when drafts are due.

6.  Don’t create a plan at all.

In a recent survey Marketri conducted, 32% of companies fail to create a formal marketing plan.

Remedy: I think you know the answer to this one!

Marketing plans that move the needle are challenging to create. If your company is struggling to create a formal marketing plan or has not realized measurable results from its efforts, consider tapping a strategic marketing company that specializes in planning.

Want more information about marketing plans?

If you’re interested in learning more about marketing to avoid fixable marketing plan failures, then you might want to check out our B2B marketing strategies guide. It covers best practices for creating effective plans that can get your company on the path to growth.