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80% of companies do not have a plan.

 Absent a plan, organizations become plagued by one of the biggest symptoms of brand angst, Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS): chase shiny objects, throw money at shiny objects, move dollars away from shiny objects not converting, rinse and repeat. This leads to inefficient spending, minimal gains and a limitation on what organizations might achieve. 

SOS, or Tactics First, is often the product of a few things: the lack of alignment across business, sales and marketing; key stakeholders within the organization devaluing long term strategy for quick wins and immediate results and those same key employees demanding tactical solutions before a plan is in place. 

That is the unfortunate reality for many marketing executives but it doesn’t have to be. Bring together leadership and any other key representatives from the sales and marketing team together for a one-day working session and use these three key steps to put your marketing efforts back on track.

Step 1: Internal Alignment

  • Goal Setting: Define and agree on the business’ growth goals for the next 12 months
  • The Big Three: Identify and agree on the three focus areas that will support the business in reaching those goals
  • Define Success: What does success look like for each of those focus areas? How will you track success? And what are your key performance indicators (KPIs)?

Step 2: Strategy 

  • Who: Who is your target audience?
  • What: What action do you want them to take?
  • How:  How will you make that happen?

You should now be able to fill in the blanks: 

Our objective is to get ____________ 

To ____________________________________________________ 

By________________________________________________________________

Step 3: Planning

  • Budget: What is your total budget for the year?
  • Initiatives & Tactics: Define the key initiatives and tactics that must happen this year to ensure you reach your business goals?
  • Prioritize: In what order must they occur. We like to plan on a quarterly basis, what must happen within the next 90 days? Is it attainable? How will you measure its success?
    • Everything else goes into a parking lot for consideration next quarter
  • Gut-check: Before you go any further, take a step back and ensure you’re avoiding shiny object syndrome by asking yourself if each of the initiatives and tactics identified to support your business goals, falls into one of the Big Three and supports your overarching strategy
  • Allocate Resources: Agree on a budget for each tactic, identify who is accountable for getting each done and establish timing

Your plan in place, you no longer fall into that 80% statistic and have the foundation you need for success. If your team begins to stray, set them back on track quickly by referencing the work above. Have questions? Let’s connect. 

~Christian Jennings, EVP & Chief Digital Strategist | Christian.Jennings@wmharper.com