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You Have A Marketing Plan. Now What?

January 10, 2012

Today’s post is courtesy of Colleen M. Doherty, MBA, Marketing Manager at Bryant Associates, Inc.

So your firm has developed the “Marketing Plan” for the new year. Now it’s time to implement the plan – where to begin and who should be involved? These are common questions for any marketing professional.

The SMPS Boston Education Committee hosted a timely and informative luncheon on Jan. 5 to address marketing planning and implementation strategies for the new year. Marc Pelletier, a seasoned marketing and business professional and principal of the Baldwin Group, facilitated the luncheon. Marc shared various strategies and tactics for ensuring that the marketing plan is put into action, as well as engaging the participants to contribute ideas and suggestions.

Get more business

The foremost goal of the marketing plan should be to generate more business. The marketing plan should follow the strategic plan, in order to support the firm’s business goals. Marketing should be at the table when discussing strategic business planning, particularly if it’s been tasked to develop a marketing plan to support these business goals.

Once the marketing plan has been developed, it now becomes the marketing department’s sole responsibility to achieve set-forth goals and results… Right? This sounds like a big task for any individual or department to champion on its own. Fortunately, you are not alone in this task (or at least you shouldn’t be). Everyone in the firm is responsible (or should be) for generating new business. So everyone in the firm should be invested in the plan and accountable for various aspects. Clients and potential clients come into contact with various individuals within your organization, from the receptionist who answers the phone, the accounting department handling billing, to the engineer working directly on projects. Therefore, everyone should be involved and participating in the marketing planning and implementation.

Accountability and ownership

Accountability and ownership are important to establish upfront during the marketing planning process.

The plan needs to be sold internally before any external selling can effectively take place. “If people aren’t buying it internally, then they can’t help you sell,” Marc said. Gaining consensus and involving the technical and administrative staff during the planning stages is crucial to successfully implementing the plan. Effective selling is a function of the various efforts of the people across your organization.

Strategies for achieving buy-in and involving staff include:

  • Top-down support (key leadership should communicate the value of the plan across the organization)
  • Involving a variety of staff at all levels in the planning process
  • Budgeting staff hours to marketing
  • Delegating marketing tasks (such as market research and client outreach/check-ins)
  • Tying marketing initiatives into raises and bonuses
  • Conducting regular meetings to provide updates and ensure accountability, etc.

Marketing planning and implementation is more effective when you adopt a ‘divide-and-conquer’ approach.

Change is good

A marketing plan is a living document, one that flexes and changes over time. The A/E/C marketplace is constantly shifting, whether these changes are derived from the political climate, funding sources, technology, national or global economic conditions, etc. Your clients and potential clients are faced with the same changing landscape, so your marketing strategies should shift accordingly to accommodate these variations. A marketing plan is never finished, and should respond and forecast the firm’s next move. This is a critical point to ensuring that the marketing plan doesn’t just ‘sit on the shelf.’

“Build your efforts around the ‘client experience,’” Marc said. This industry is centered around service and relationships. Your marketing plan should include those tactics that support proactive client relationship building.

This could include touring a finished project with the facility manager, checking in with a client a year later, or offering to resolve any minor issues (whether or not they were in your project scope). Make the effort across the organization to provide good client service to sustain and improve the ‘client experience’.

Want more information? Marc Pelletier is the principal of the Baldwin Group, a marketing consulting firm. He can be reached at marc@baldwingroup.us or 617-242-2900.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 7, 2012 8:21 am

    Without any planning we can’t complete the task successfully….. Every successful Business have best planning in there marketing Department..

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