Marketing plans are one of the most important aspects of a company's success.
They enable companies to evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, their competitors and plan how they will use their resources to maximize sales. However, you can have the best plan in the world, but you will be unsuccessful without proper implementation.
Developing a marketing plan timeline is an important part of operational marketing. This can help your organization have ideas on when activities should be completed.
In this article, we define a marketing plan timeline, why they are important for success, and the nine steps to creating a detailed timeline for your marketing team to follow.
What is a Marketing Plan Timeline?
It can be defined as a list of actions that describe the steps necessary to create a marketing plan. Developing a plan helps you to determine which activities will be completed, where they should take place, and how long they will take.
Reasons Why Marketing Timelines Are Important
There are many benefits that a detailed marketing timeline offers your team:
- Collaboration: marketing team members can collaborate on tasks of the plan
- Accountability: with a timeline in place, team members have a duty to complete tasks on time
- Visibility: marketers and project members can all see the status of each task, completion progress, and whether it will be completed on time.
- Management: project managers can help manage and allocate marketing budget, hours spent on tasks, and more.
- Planning ahead: creating a timeline allows you to see the big picture and plan for future tasks as the start date approaches.
- Organization: with the assistance of a project management tool, marketing timelines help your team stay organized throughout its duration.
Steps to Create a Marketing Plan Timeline
Each organization may take a different approach to develop a marketing plan timeline. Some steps to create this timeline include:
1. Evaluate Your Current Situation
A timeline should begin with a review of your company's performance and current situation. An assessment of the market, your competitors, and the strengths and weaknesses of your product make up the basis for the planned timeline.
Pro Tip: To evaluate your company’s current situation, make a SWOT analysis. This is a great exercise to understand your company, industry, and current landscape.
2. Define the Target Market
Based on your company’s market, you need to define who your target audience will be. You can then establish a list of key points that will help you define your market and target audience. Some organizations may have formal research done regarding their target market. However, it’s always a good idea to update these, as the details of your audience can change over time.
Pro Tip: Create multiple buyer personas and get as detailed as possible with the behaviors, demographics, motivations, and consumer pain points. This information will serve your marketing team well as you create marketing campaigns segmented by persona.
3. Set Your Marketing Goals
After researching the audience you plan to target, you should decide the goals each campaign will address. Let SMART goals drive your goal-setting.
Pro Tip: When setting the goals for your marketing plan timeline, make sure your marketing goals are fully aligned with your business goals and objectives in mind.
4. Gather Resources
Make sure you have members of your team that can dedicate a certain number of hours to carry out your plan. Each team member should know their role and responsibilities. They should also know which tasks they should own and when in the timeline they should contribute.
You must also have the tools and platforms to help you get data, speed up the process, and get the best ROI for your plan.
Pro tip: With marketing plans, you should outline project roles to ensure things run smoothly. This would include a project manager, a project sponsor (a member of senior management providing high-level resources and support), and of course, the project team members.
5. Create a Deadline
To create an effective marketing timeline, you need to set a deadline for the completion of each step. After the completion date is established, it can serve as a motivating factor for your staff to complete their tasks.
Pro Tip: Managing your team will be key to meeting your deadline. Encourage clear communication among your team to address progress, roadblocks, and task issues.
6. Develop Your Campaigns
After you have defined your goals and set deadlines, you should develop your marketing campaigns and strategies for each activity. By creating a detailed list of all the strategies used, you can more accurately estimate how much time and resources it will take to complete each strategy.
Pro Tip: When creating new campaigns in your marketing plan timeline, be sure to leverage data from past campaigns to get a sense of what.
7. Create a Budget
After establishing your strategies, create a budget to ensure that your company has the necessary resources to implement them. Allocate your budgets for different campaigns and channels as part of your plan.
Pro tip: make sure you know all of your expenses. This includes the salaries of team members, the cost of any platforms/tools you use, and more.
8. Schedule Check-Ins
You should schedule and plan for your team to meet and review progress. This is your time to discuss the progress you’ve made on tasks listed in a project management platform. This can improve the status of certain tasks and address any roadblocks experienced. Remember, the end goal is to meet your deadline, work as efficiently as possible to see the best marketing ROI when measuring performance.
Pro Tip: Set a meeting cadence that works best for your team. As your marketing plan unfolds, meetings are an important time to communicate the status of tasks with your team. Find the right routine for your team members.
9. Measure Your Success
A marketing plan timeline should only be considered complete once you have created a way to measure the success of each campaign. As your marketing plan timeline progresses, you should constantly track your data to measure against your marketing goals. By tracking your results, you can assess how well your strategies worked on fine-tuning them.
Pro Tip: If you find some of your campaigns or strategies need to be fixed, consider pivoting to other strategies if they are not working.
In Closing: Following Your Marketing Plan Timelines
Once created, your marketing plan timeline can be adjusted or updated as needed. The timeline should serve as a guide to carrying out your implementation plan.
For more on operational marketing, be sure to download the Plannuh Operational Marketing E-Book
Plannuh is a marketing performance management software that provides marketers and CMOs with the visibility and collaboration needed to carry out your plan.