Recently I spoke to a company about an unsuccessful launch of a new product.
After a number of questions, it was clear to me that they had not created a strategic marketing plan for the launch.
In fairness, they thought they had a plan. It was all tactics. Do this to this audience at this time. Send out this and see what happens. What was missing were the basics – a thorough situation analysis, SWOT analysis, goals, objectives, strategies, messaging, and audiences. As they implemented their tactics, there was nothing to compare results to. And I’m not talking just benchmarks.
What this company had done – and I’ve seen this time and again with overworked marketing and sales departments – is create the tactical plan and think it was not necessary to write the strategic end, because, after all, they had it all in their heads. The problem with this approach is that when things go wrong there is nothing except their collective memory that they can refer to – and collective memory is about as reliable as job security these days.
I know that a comprehensive marketing plan is a pain in the ass. No one wants to hear about it, because they know they should do one. No one really has time for it. Sometimes it’s best to hire an outside marketing consultant to do yours – but if you do, make sure you have the ability to work closely with that consultant so you completely agree with the plan.
Once it’s done, you’ll not only feel a great sense of accomplishment, but you’ll also have the blueprint for a successful launch. Furthermore, the beauty of a good plan is you can always freshen it up, and use it as a basis for the next year’s plan.