Behaviour precedes belief – that is, most people must engage in behaviour before they accept that it is beneficial; then they see the results, and then they believe that it is the right thing to do….implementation precedes buy-in; it does not follow it.” Douglas B. Reeves
Speak to any prospective entrepreneur and even existing business owners and most of them will tell you that the concept of ‘marketing’ and monitoring the effectiveness of a marketing programme is of paramount importance in their endeavours to ensure a sustainable and profitable business. What is the use of having a business if none of your potential customers even know you exist? Moreover, what is the use of having a well-conceived marketing plan if it is not implemented effectively with the primary aim of achieving measurable results? Even the most well-researched, well-written marketing plan is just a pile of paper if it isn’t implemented into action. As cited by Kotler (1997), marketing plan implementation is the process that turns marketing plans into action assignments and ensures that such assignments are executed in a manner that accomplishes the marketing plan’s stated objectives. A marketing plan is most certainly not a document you create once and store in your bottom drawer. It’s a living blueprint that you should develop, tweak and revise as your business grows and changes. Set yourself a reminder to review your marketing plan regularly.
Successful implementation is 80% of the marketing plan’s success.
Guidelines for the successful implementation of a workable marketing plan:
It is vital to understand that implementation has two dimensions: organising and executing.
- Step 1: Ensure that all your marketing initiatives, activities and programmes are goal and objective directed.
- Step 2: You need to allocate a time frame for completion to achieving each objective and goal. Each task should be paired with an appropriate time frame for completion. You should be aggressive but reasonable with you time allocation and ensure that quality is achieved at all times.
- Step 3: You need to decide who in your team is responsible to perform which task. Your expectations of them need to be clearly communicated to ensure that they fully understand what is expected of them and how their individual actions will contribute towards the overall success of the marketing plan.
- Step 4: No plan will succeed if you don’t monitor your progress and return on investment (which such ‘investment’ is in the form of employees’ time, money, etc.). As business owner, the overall responsibility for the successful implementation of the marketing plan resides with you. You need to monitor each task’s progress and the completion percentage of each objective. When delays occur, try to get to the root of the problem and resolve it immediately.
A good idea is about ten percent and implementation and hard work, and luck is 90 percent. Guy Kawasaki
Business owners are important components in the marketing plan implementation process. To be effective implementers, business owners need:
- The strength to be tough and fair in putting people and resources where they will be most effective;
- To be able to focus on the critical aspects of performance in managing marketing activities;
- The ability to create a necessary informal network to match each problem with which they are confronted;
- Lead by example and convey your marketing message clearly so as to ensure all employees have an unwavering commitment and buy-in.