If there is one thing I’ve learned as a marketing consultant, strategic marketing plans must be SMART to be successful. I work with business owners of small to mid-size companies. Especially in tough economic times, they have limited resources to spend on marketing. So, what they do spend on marketing must produce results.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. There are variations on the definition for this acronym, including “relevant” for R and many others – see PMP Duncan Haughey’s blog post SMART Goals for more variations. Here are my descriptions for SMART B2B marketing plans:
Specific. A marketing plan that does not identify what will be done, how, who will do it, when and how much it will cost is not specific. Without the What?, How?, Who?, When? and How Much? questions answered, your marketing won’t get done.
Measurable. How will you measure each activity? Traffic to your website? Email and phone call inquiries? Downloads of content from your site? Sales? Not many companies track results and keep doing the same marketing regardless. (Some say doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insane!)
Attainable. B2B marketers need to ask if it is possible to attain results from their marketing. Is there demand for the product? Are there any statistics that show average results for different types of marketing activities? Is the marketing goal too aggressive?
Realistic. How realistic is it that the business can spend the time and money to implement the marketing correctly? Take business blogs, for example. According to a Technorati study from 2008, blogs have a 94% abandonment rate. Blogs take time, inspiration and writing skills. They yield great results if done well, but there is nothing worse than getting excited about reading a business blog and finding the last entry was posted 18 months ago.
Timely. Can the marketing activity get done in a reasonable amount of time, so that the business can realize results? Will the activity take too much time, so that the business needs to look at other alternatives to achieving objectives?
My one-page Excel marketing plan has a SMART design. It has a place for task details (specifics?), results (measurements?), presents expense totals and timelines on one page (attainable, realistic?), and includes due dates (timely?). Read about it in my blog entry, How to Create a One-Page Marketing Plan.
Is your marketing SMART?
If you need a SMART marketing plan that will help you grow faster, contact New Incite today. We’ll work with you to create an intelligent plan for your products, services, company, industry and audience. We’ll ask the right questions and bring best practices and new ideas to the table.