Why You Need a Living Marketing Plan

Written by: Patrick Kilgore on 5/26/17 10:38 AM

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You worked hard on your marketing plan. You sat down with your team, analyzed last year’s data, clarified your goals, and turned it all into a clear strategy to guide your campaigns and actions for the coming year. But once you left that room, what happened to the plan?

Did it become a gameplan that you never really looked at again for the rest of the year? Did you continue to actively think about and revisit your plan every day as you worked on executing it? Or maybe you fell somewhere in between, thinking about it now and then, but mostly focused on the campaign of the day and marketing execution.

Marketing organizations know that having a clear marketing plan is important enough to put significant time and work in to creating. We’re all perhaps a little guilty of ignoring previously defined initiatives once day-to-day realities set in.  

Your Marketing Plan Shouldn’t Go the Way of the Dead Languages

Dead languages are still studied and revisited by the rare few scholars who seek them out, but most people spend the days of their lives never really thinking about them. Living languages, in comparison, are used each day and never leave the minds of their speakers.

Marketing plans should work like the latter. Don’t let your plan become a dead document that’s gone out of use and is largely forgotten. What you want (and need, if you’re going to achieve better results) is a living, breathing marketing plan. There are two key components to making that happen:

  1. Make efforts to ensure that everyone on your marketing team thinks about the plan every day and actively ties their work back to it.
  2. Work flexibility into your marketing strategy that allows you to make changes to your plan as you go based on how well it’s working.

Keep Your Marketing Plan Constantly Top of Mind

Thinking about your marketing plan while you’re busy executing it seems simple enough in theory, but is hard to put into practice. Luckily, this is one area where technology can help.

A well-designed marketing dashboard ensures that your daily actions and the data they produce are visually placed alongside the plan that guides them. It makes it easy to track how well the results you see each day are lining up with your goals for the quarter and year.

When everyone in your marketing department regularly accesses a solution that puts your plan front and center, you can be confident that all of them will have company initiatives top of mind as they work. It then becomes intuitive to match your marketing activities to your plan – and you don’t have to do any extra work to make the connection.

Let Your Marketing Plan Evolve and Change

A living marketing plan isn’t just one you keep in mind as you work, it’s one that can change as you go. Now that it’s possible to collect marketing analytics in real time, you can see every single day how your results match your goals and projections. When the plan you originally created isn’t serving to help you achieve the goals you’d set, you can make adjustments to plan and model the results of those changes until you’re back on track.

Marketers now gain insights into the tactics, channels, and approaches that your audience responds to best at an unprecedented rate. There’s no reason to stay the course with a marketing approach that isn’t working just because you thought six months back it was a good idea. Pay attention to what your prospects tell you with their actions and shift your efforts to respond in kind.


People often think of a plan as something established and decided.  It doesn’t have to be. In fact, you’ll be better off if you get comfortable with letting your plan evolve based on the data you gain over time.  Make it part of your plan to evaluate the plan in an iterative fashion and change as needed.

Once you get used to the idea of having a living marketing plan, it will seem so obvious that you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it that way all along. And more importantly, your results will be all the better for it.

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Topics: Marketing Planning, Hive9, B2B, marketing strategy