What to do if you have OVERSTUFFED your 2017 marketing plan

Planning your marketing for a fresh year ahead can be extremely exciting. At the time of planning we often have so many ideas, goals, and ‘things’ that we plan to get done. For some reason we often approach a marketing plan with the view that next year will be different and we will all of a sudden increase the marketing output exponentially without additional inputs.

The majority of small businesses will create next year’s marketing plan during the month of November or January of each year. During the planning phase is completely normal (and healthy) to be full of optimism. Having worked with hundreds of businesses over the years I have seen all varieties of marketing plans.

The most common formats are;

  • xls Spreadsheet
  • Word document
  • Post-it Notes
  • PPT slides

The majority of the plans that I witnessed that actually get followed and ‘done’ are formatted in a simple xls document. My favorites format is one where the dates that you plan to send your campaigns is outlined, and includes a summary box at the top of each tab/page divider with a synopsis of what is going on in that month. This provides clarity of the most important campaigns / focus areas for the business for that month.

The biggest mistake I see with marketing plans that so not deliver the actual campaigns and results is they are simply OVERSTUFFED.

When you OVERSTUFF a marketing plan it grinds everything in the plan to a nasty halt. This has greater consequences than just the delivery of the marketing by the company. By spreading resources too thinly the business can become at risk of poorly executing any of the planned campaigns, not driving enough leads and converting into sales.

When a marketing plan is overstuffed, it becomes very hard to really see what is going on.

For example, have you ever experienced a situation when you have so much food in your fridge that you cant even see what is in there? Because there is too much food you loose the ability to plan prepare and cook the meals before the ingredients start to go off? All of a sudden the fresh newly purchased food is rotting and the left-over meals are rotting and you can’t eat any of it so you need to throw it all out?

This is exactly what happens when you OVERSTUFF your marketing plan. You loose the ability to use any of your marketing because all of a sudden your new newsletter has an image of the website that you haven’t built yet, with a podcast icon that you haven’t recorded yet. You end up in a very very big mess.

When this situation occurs the first thing to do is identify that there is simply too much in the marketing plan. It’s just not humanly possible for your business with it’s current resources to deliver this marketing to plan.

The solution is to make a time to sit down to de-clutter this plan. Review your plan with a filter to categorize and eliminate everything that is not going to deliver sales to your business. Then remove everything that will deliver a low level of sales. Keep all your marketing that is your ‘low hanging fruit’. These are marketing items that will deliver a high number of sales and conversions for a low about of effort.

I like to balance my marketing plan with a few projects that are BIG tasks and support these with lots of smaller tasks.

I would consider a BIG project to be projects like:

  • Building a new website
  • Implementing a new CRM system
  • Implementing some marketing automation
  • Creating a mobile app
  • Creating a widget

Smaller tasks will be projects like day to day marketing tasks such as;

  • Blog posts
  • Email newsletters
  • Social media marketing
  • Creating a landing page
  • Creating a campaign

I like to include a balance of big and small projects in my marketing plans. I need to always keep the marketing plan comfortably achievable. This way it’s not overstuffed, my team aren’t groaning and we are not falling apart at the seams.

So what to do if you have already overstuffed your marketing plan?

Step 1.

If you have additional items that you’d like to complete this year, prioritize the most important projects then add the extra projects to a wish list. As you complete your highest priority projects add back an additional project from your wish list. Be careful not to add it all back in, drip feed your additional projects to ensure you are never OVERSTUFFING your marketing.

Step 2.

If you are already feeling overwhelmed and you don’t know what you should be doing first, or what your highest marketing priorities are,  you have a few options. I  recommend that you have a quick consultation session with a succesful marketer, marketing agency, or a business coach to get a clear path forward. Strip out all the things that aren’t going to drive results and focus on one channel at a time to build your marketing from the ground up.

By adjusting your marketing plan you will immediately feel relief knowing that you are now working on an achievable plan. As you get more efficient, you can expand your marketing at a comfortable pace.

I wish you all the very best with your 2017 Marketing,


Justine Coombe
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