It’s officially fall, and that means many marketers are in the middle of another year of planning. Unless of course, you’re ahead of the game – in which case, congratulations!!! But since that’s probably not the case, as you begin to work through the process of another year’s planning, it is useful to consider how effective last year’s marketing plan was. Here is a simple 10-question quiz to help you understand the effectiveness of last year’s plan. Give yourself one point for each correct answer.
- Did your plan clearly articulate your target audience, including demographic information? (The correct answer would be something on the order of 20-34 yrs old, middle income, attending “X” school and living in “Y” neighborhood. If the answer is “anyone within the sound of our voice” — you’re going to have to deduct 5 points from your score.)
- Did your plan address which products fill a need for your target demographic and why? (Choosing to target someone is all well and good, but if you can’t identify what product would fill a need in their life – it’s not worth your time to target it.)
- Did you follow through on the strategies you laid out in your plan to reach your target demographic? (Did you do what you said you were going to do to try to reach them or did you write your plan, put it on a shelf and ignore it?)
- Did your target demographic grow last year? (Are there more 20-34 yr olds you can count as customers today than you could last year?)
- Did your plan articulate how your company is differentiated from its competitors? (Is does your company provide better service, product, location, or price?)
- Did your plan discuss opportunities, threats, weaknesses and strengths for your company to exploit/solve? (This is often seen as part of a SWOT analysis but could be an 8-factor or 5-factor analysis as well.)
- Did you execute on the findings from your analysis above? (Writing it down wasn’t enough – you had to plan to, and actually do something with it.)
- Were the objectives (and budget) from last year’s marketing plan consistent with the outcomes your company needed? (When the plan was crafted, was it designed to meet the company’s overall needs or the marketing department’s needs?)
- Did you hit the budget you outlined in the marketing plan? (How close were you? Right on? Over? Under?)
- Did you launch campaigns according to your annual marketing calendar? (Did you plan correctly for when different campaigns would be needed or did you miss it entirely? How much of that had to do with items you had no way of foreseeing vs items you should have known about?)
If you plan scored less than 5, the good news is you’ve lots of room for improvement with this year’s plan. If you scored less than 8, you can make a modest improvement in this year’s plan. If you scored a 9 or a 10 — congratulations, you created a great plan! For the next few posts, I’ll be addressing the implications of each question independently to help you to create an outstanding marketing plan for 2011. So be sure to check back if last year’s marketing plan had some room for improvement.