Why your marketing strategy is more important than your planning

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3.5 mins

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

We’ve all heard Benjamin Franklin’s “failing to plan is planning to fail.”

But what many of us don’t consider is that a plan isn’t bulletproof, that things can and will go wrong.

Like Mike Tyson famously quipped  "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth" (or more diplomatically paraphrased Helmuth von Moltke "No plan survives contact with the enemy").

Both Franklin and Tyson sound correct in isolation, but they also make each other redundant.

This is easily solved by strategy. By looking at the big picture, strategy can keep your marketing efforts on track. That way when something happens that stops you from doing what you’d planned, you still have a strategy that will guide you to find a new way to reach your goals. For example, a new competitor beats you to market with a similar product.

What’s the difference?

Plans are how people get things done, but planning doesn’t go far enough. In simple terms a plan is just a sequence of tasks or events. The major shortfall of a plan is that it doesn’t consider external factors.

It’s frustrating to hear that 45% of organisations admit to not having a clearly defined digital marketing strategy. If you’re one of those businesses, now might be the time to build your own.

A good strategy acknowledges the challenges being faced and provides an approach to overcoming them. The greater the challenge, the more a good strategy focuses and coordinates efforts to achieve a powerful competitive punch or problem-solving effect.

What’s more, a strategy can highlight where your priority planning needs to happen. Is there a particular market, audience, or product you need to focus on? Let the strategy guide you.

Put simply, a strategy and a plan can be thought of in terms of: “Here’s what we want to achieve, and here’s how we’ll do it.”

Strategies provide flexibility

A good strategy acknowledges that things change and gives you a framework to keep moving when they do.

Challenges are a good test for the strength of your strategy so don’t be afraid. If you fail, then you can adjust your strategy for the future.

Avoid constantly tweaking your strategy. It should be a pillar of reference, while a plan should be fluid.

Consider how your overall strategy influences specific tactics in your marketing arsenal too, like your social media tactics, content marketing efforts and brand storytelling.

Defining your direction

So if a strategy is a ‘direction’, and a plan is a ‘what’, think why your company is in business (other than to make money). Then think about what service or product you offer and what’s different about it to competitors.

At Frankly, we use a 3 step process to examine your business or organisations ‘why’.

Approach it pragmatically

When we structure a strategy, we take a pragmatic view.

We avoid the fluff and confusing frameworks by applying a simple methodology. Diving into your ‘why’, we develop a clear path for all activities so everything works in-sync.

As a performance marketing agency focused on delivering our clients ROI, we plan for changes and minimise uncertainty.

By looking at the bigger picture, we work with you to lay the groundwork for an actionable strategy and then help plan to bring that strategy to life.

Plans are how people get things done, but planning doesn’t go far enough.
Richard Brosnan
Written By

Richard Brosnan

General Manager