You could slip a $100 bill between page 54-55 of the average marketing plan and nobody would ever find it.
Here are five reasons why:
1) Too Much Data
The problem with too much data is that it does more to hurt the plan than it does to help it. Data obscures the actual recommendations included in a marketing plan. It also takes a lot of time to accumulate, which takes time away from delivering worthwhile strategies and tactics.
2) Weak Strategic Thinking
It is impossible to create a worthwhile marketing plan with weak strategic thinking. Most marketing plans include one of the following three problems when it comes to strategy:
- Lack of a strategy
- Vague strategies
- Too many strategies
3) Lack of rationale
Too many marketing plans lack rationale. Marketing plans ask a lot of the people tasked with implementing them. As a consequence, the thinking behind a recommendation must be apparent and rational.
4) Wishful thinking
Excessive wishful thinking is commonplace among marketing plans. Optimism can be helpful, but the plan must be grounded in the situation as it exists today – not in how we might wish it exists.
5) Too much financial information
The CFO can be helpful, just not when it comes to writing the marketing plan. Too much financial information creates a simple problem: the numbers overwhelm the strategy. Detailed financial forecasts are not marketing plans. While a marketing plan should touch on the financials, it isn’t a budget.
My next post will give the framework for a marketing plan that actually works. Stay tuned.