Top Reasons Why Most Digital Marketing Plans Fall Apart

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Every single marketer has experienced it: A plan, either fully formed or half-cocked, gets a little TLC but ultimately winds up in the trash. Don’t feel down on yourself when something like this happens. Pick yourself up and figure out the why behind it. There are a few main reasons that most digital marketing plans fall apart. We’ve highlighted them for you here so you can steer clear.

Roles aren’t clearly assigned

Marketing is about teamwork. You can’t do it all yourself. But assigning roles needs to happen in order for that teamwork to be collaborative and effective. When planning for a project begins, make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what responsibilities belong to whom.

You can have a case where no one does any work, because they thought another person was taking care of it. Or, you can have an issue of duplicate efforts. Neither of these things is very helpful, and they’ll certainly have you falling behind in your marketing efforts.

So how do you make sure everyone knows what role they’re playing? This can be as simple as a follow-up email after the initial project meeting. Ideally, you have project management software where you can assign a person (or multiple people) to specific tasks. Even better, create subtasks under the larger project umbrella to keep everyone organized.

Planning is not a priority

Often, the planning aspect of digital marketing plans is, ironically, taken for granted. Different stakeholders can form different opinions of how the finished product will look. And if they’re working separately without a defined plan, the end result can be a true mishmash.

So make sure your vision is clear, and confirm that everyone is on board with the direction. If people just decide to do what they want rather than what’s been agreed upon, it’s likely this plan won’t ever come to fruition.

Get everyone on the same page by establishing the way you will work together in the beginning. Will you meet once a week until the project is complete? What is the chain-of-command for approvals?

Having regular status meetings for longer-term projects is a great way to monitor timelines and roles. If someone goes on a last-minute vacation, timelines and roles might have to be adjusted. If you’re planning a website relaunch, and you web developers run into a problem that will set your project back, everyone needs to be aware of that.

It is not just the project manager’s responsibility to keep team members in the loop. As different team members work with different pieces of the puzzle, they need to share vital information with everyone. As is true with so many things, communication is key when it comes to planning.

Budget is not taken into account

Our eyes are often bigger than our budget, and it’s important to know limitations before a project gets underway. It’s easy to fail when you plan for things that aren’t actually possible. Your final product will either be something very far from your original vision, or it will get scrapped entirely.

Be clear on the budget from the get-go so there are no surprises. Leave wiggle room in your budget–planning to spend all of it can leave you in a bind if unexpected expenditures happen. Yes, budget might change mid-project, but you at least have a starting point.

Timelines are not defined

Ever start planning on a project that’s months away, and then it creeps up on you and nothing is done? That’s why you need a timeline. It’s easy to feel like you have all the time in the world when the launch date of a campaign is months away, but that doesn’t mean planning is delayed.

Draw up your timelines far in advance when you have the resources to — not when you’re in the thick of the project. This will keep everyone on track, helping your project become a fully formed reality.

It’s also important that you keep your timelines realistic. If the person working on the last leg of the project is on PTO the week before a campaign launches, that job either needs to get reassigned to timelines need to be moved around. Too often, timelines are just made up without consideration for what is actually possible. Be flexible, and change your timelines if you need to.

The idea was never actually approved

This is hard one. Sometimes things get lost in communication. It might seem like a person has assigned a task, when in reality they’re just spitballing. Or, there might be a case of team members deciding to take something on themselves without seeking approval first.

There are many ways to get formal approval on a project. You might submit a proposal, via hard copy or email. During your one-on-one with a manager, bring this project up again. Are they good to go ahead with it?

You can even use your project management software for approvals. Build out the entire project with timelines, assigned roles, and clear direction. Ask your supervisor to take a look and check a box saying “approved.” The most important thing here is to get approval in writing, or recorded in an application. If you do only get verbal approval, in a one-on-one for instance, make sure you record that approval in a shared document or send a follow-up email saying  “This project was approved April 12, 2017 by Jill Smith.”

So, to minimize the risk of your plans falling apart, make sure you have the proper approvals before you begin.

No one hits “go”

The most heartbreaking of any marketing failure is when all of the pieces are in place, but no one ever launches the campaign. This is a combination of roles not clearly being assigned and planning not being a priority. You need to plan through the end.

A lot of the time, people won’t hit “go” on something like an email nurture or a PPC campaign because they don’t feel like they’re the right person to do that. And they might seek approval, or they might not. So make sure, early in the process, you designate the person who will launch your campaign. It might be the person assembling everything, or it might be the project manager of the campaign.

While this issue is eventually caught, it can delay campaign launches weeks or even months. And it’s embarrassing for everyone. Remember, at the end of the day, if you have campaign ready to launch, you launch.

DemandZEN is proud of our effectiveness in seeing digital marketing plans through from beginning to end. We’d love to chat with you about your current programs, and how to make them even more effective.

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