Many companies rely on improvisation and general ideas when first approaching a new marketing plan, and fail to formalize a roadmap to follow. If you have written out a specific marketing strategy, you’re off to a good start, in theory. However, the fact is that the first draft of that strategy probably isn’t going to be the success you think it will.
First Drafts Have Limitations
Like any creative endeavor — from designing to writing scripts or novels — your first draft rarely delivers the quality you are aiming for. Here are four reasons why you should toss your first marketing strategy draft.
Assumptions Aren’t Reliable
Your first draft for a marketing strategy is probably built on assumptions based on prior experience that’s not applicable for the current project. While data may be involved, you’re only projecting that the data will be relevant. For example, your target audience may have appreciated the humor in your previous campaign, but that’s no guarantee that they’ll respond the same way to a new advertisement. When your documentation relies on speculation, you should question its accuracy.
Marketing Is Not Static
Having a premeditated strategy doesn’t always translate to effective marketing. Marketing is a process of change. It involves optimizing your campaign by testing and making changes. Executing your first draft marketing strategy flawlessly is not going to bring results if the original plan was off the mark to begin with.
You Have No Results Yet
You need experimental data in order to identify if your marketing strategy – or parts of it – are effective. You can’t accumulate the data you need until you actually do something, even the “wrong thing”. Once you put the first draft in motion in a grounded environment and gather information from that experience, you’ll be in a position to put that expertise to practical use.
Even the best new marketing strategies have unknowable factors that most B2B companies are aware of, which can affect the success of a campaign. Good marketing planning involves recognizing unknown variables and unpredictable factors. Failing to pull back and re-think after finding out how those unknowables are affecting your campaign, and then adjusting, is a big mistake.
Implementing Your First Draft
Now that you know why your first draft is probably lacking, here’s what you need to do about it.
Face the truth. When you begin knowing your first draft isn’t perfect, you’ll be less likely to be surprised or disappointed by the results. Instead of focusing on the tiny details of that plan, you’ll be eager to face future revision rounds.
Bring diversity to the brainstorming process.By including the brainpower of different team members, you’ll have a wider variety of insights and experiences on the table. This can help mitigate some of the uncertainty of the “known unknowns” and eliminate some of the blind spots that happen with limited talent involvement.
Keep it short and sweet. You know your marketing strategy will have to adjust at some point, so keep to a short outline format that doesn’t obsess about the details. Set short-term goals and actionable tasks and provide a flexible framework to move forward.