Strategic planning is essential but thorough, creative execution of marketing plans is fundamental to real success

Your marketing plan must include a working action plan – a marketing calendar of activities – with agreed owners, priorities and deadlines for each activity. It should also have a defined marketing budget and marketing metrics (KPIs) in place to measure progress.

Unfortunately, many good plans and campaigns are spoilt by poor execution. Lots of small businesses:

  • Don’t spend enough time executing their plans.
  • Only execute part of their plan and do it slowly, missing deadlines.
  • Execute their plan in too much hurry with poor quality results.
  • Implement plans without consistent creativity, off-brand and without attention to detail or discipline.

Ensure you have sufficient marketing manpower and budget to follow through on your plans properly. Make sure that those responsible for marketing have the right skills, from planning, PR and branding, to websites and digital marketing, SEO, blogging and social media. However, in today’s multi-channel world that can be difficult to achieve. Marketing has never offered so many opportunities, but never been so complex.

Lack of time and under resourcing are common challenges, so prioritising marketing activities and ruthless, disciplined time management are essential.

As Tim Ferriss says in The 4-Hour Workweek:

“Learn to ask, ‘If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?’ … Common time wasters include meetings, discussions, phone calls, web surfing, and emails that are unimportant.”

If you want more advice, please speak to us. Real Marketing executes marketing plans across digital and traditional marketing channels every day, so we can take the strain out of implementing your marketing plan. We often work as our clients’ flexible virtual marketing manager for 1 to 6 days per month or on defined projects and entirely subject to what you need.

Time Management Bonus

Free up some of your time – Tim Ferriss makes some good recommendations on time management:

  • Make your to-do list for tomorrow before you finish today: When you add an item to this list, ask yourself if you would view a day as productive if that’s the only thing on the list that you got done. Then, when you start in the morning, just attack that list with vigour knowing that all of the stuff is worthwhile.
  • Stop all multi-tasking immediately: This means when you’re trying to write, close your email program and your instant messenger program and your web browser and just focus on writing, nothing else. This allows you to churn out the task much faster.
  • Force yourself to end your day at 4pm or end your week on Thursday: Even if you have to come in on Friday, focus on something to develop yourself. Learn to compress your productive time.
  • Go on a one week media fast: Basically, avoid television (other than one hour a day for enjoyment/relaxation) and nonfiction reading of any kind (including news, newspapers, magazines, the web, etc.). By the end of it, you’ll discover that the media and information overload was giving you a mild attention deficit.
  • Check email only twice a day: Batch your emails. Combining this with the “no multitasking” principle enables email to only eat up a sliver of my time when it used to seemingly bog down everything.
  • Never, ever have a meeting without a clear agenda: If someone suggests a meeting, request the specific agenda of the meeting. If there isn’t one, ask why you’re meeting at all. Often, meetings will become more productive, or, if they were really time wasters to begin with, they’ll vanish into thin air.
  • Don’t be afraid to hang up a “do not disturb” sign.

“Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined.” (Tim Ferriss)

You can read my full review of Tim Ferriss’s inspiring ‘4-Hour Workweek‘ in my blog.

See more practical solutions on Marketing Plans & Strategy for Small Business.

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