As we continue to push past COVID19 and look toward a better 2022, we’ve been tickling our clients about budgets and planning. In the midst of one of our discussions, one of our clients asked, “what makes a good marketing plan anyway?” To be honest, I was stunned by the question. Not because we didn’t have an answer, but because in 40 years, I’m not sure anyone ever asked me that. But a darn good question, don’t you think?

Of course there is no sure-fire marketing plan roadmap as every client is different, but there are key elements that every marketing plan should consider. For the sake of illustration, I’ll use the restaurant industry as my focal point, but know that each element is applicable to your planning process.

Good marketing plans define target markets narrowly. So, when a restaurant says their target audience is families, couples, baby boomers, teenagers, children, date nights, busy and rushed working people, or some combination, you should be scratching your head. You will not find a restaurant that works for a baby boomer couple’s night out, that also works for families with small children. Choose and conquer.

Product focus is a close cousin to market focus. If you want baby boomers’ date nights, then serve great food! If you want families with kids, then serve food quickly, make the menu items relatively cheap and, of course, the food has to be safe. Bottom line, your menu needs to reflect the audience that you consider key to your long-term success. Plus, don’t be that restaurant that is all things to all diners – 10 pages of items simply says you do a lot of stuff mediocre. Always concentrate on what you do best and shout it out to those who would care.

A good marketing plan is full of dates and details. Strategy is the foundation, but tactics, programs and details make the difference. As much as possible, the plan has to tie back to activities in order to measure impact – success or failure.

A restaurant cannot have vague goals like having the best-tasking food. It needs specifics that are related to marketing message, insertions, posts, tweets, dinners served, return visits, growth of opt-in email database, reviews, and so forth. The key is to take a plan and think ahead about how you’ll know whether it was implemented or not.

Groups and committees get little done. It’s just a fact. Assign every part of a marketing plan to a specific person. Measure the results of every task and be sure a person is responsible for it. Peer pressure is important to success, and the people executing the plan have to be accountable for measurable results. Failure has to hurt, and achievement has to be rewarded.

An old joke: how do you see involvement vs. commitment in a bacon-and-egg breakfast? The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed. A good marketing plan needs commitment, not just involvement.

Every successful marketing plan is actually a planning process, not just a plan. Things change too fast for static plans. A good marketing plan is part of a process that involves setting goals, measuring results and tracking performance. It entails regular review and revision. If the group running the marketing plan isn’t meeting once a month to compare the plan with actual results and make course corrections, there is no marketing plan.

That’s it.

Bottom line, we all need to focus on what matters. There is no linear customer journey. There are no more silos. Everything is connected. Products and services. Communications and commerce. Online and offline. The power of connection is creating unprecedented opportunities, and your marketing plan should reflect that. It should clearly roadmap how you are going to connect people, places, and things.

Let us know your thoughts.

Joe Bouch
CEO, 78Madison

Welcome to 78Madison, where we invite you to Get Inspired, Get Connected, and Get Mad. Our role, on behalf of our clients, is to create “obsession-worthy” messaging that consumers will choose to connect with on a deeper, emotional level. Based in Orlando/Winter Springs, Florida, we’re here to assist with strategy, branding, creative, media, PR, digital, web, social and more. We invite you to a conversation. jbouch@78madison.com

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