I love it when a plan comes together

I’m giving away my age here but I loved the A-Team as a child. One time a colleague said to me, “You’re really busy, aren’t you?”

“How can you tell?” I asked.

“Whenever you’re busy you always hum the A-TEAM theme tune.”

I hadn’t realised because luckily I hum it under my breath. Even today, when I’m under pressure I’ll be found humming the theme tune under my breath (mostly).

Nothing piles on the pressure more than trying to do marketing without a plan. Of course, you’ll be busy doing stuff and that might make you feel brilliant. But it’s unlikely you’ll know why you’re doing it and what it’s achieving.

You’ll spend ages looking through your inbox for that brilliant idea you had last year but didn’t capture. You’ll quickly jump onto new fads and try them out, because everyone likes doing the latest thing – don’t they?

It might sound boring and tedious but I do love a good plan. And I love it to be detailed enough to give deadlines.

I was talking through a marketing strategy with a client, and they asked to see what a plan would look like. So I showed them one of our marketing plans.

It’s very specific. It gives month by month (or week by week) actions, with delivery dates completed and responsibilities. And then it showed who should be delivering things.

“Hang on a minute,” the client said. “There’s lots of things there for you to deliver but there’s lots in for your client as well.”

Absolutely, I replied. Marketing is not an outsourced activity. It’s not regulated to a single department. It brings in every element of your business – from your strategy planning, through to your sales activity and customer service. That’s why there are lots of deadlines in there for the client, because it’s their business. That means it includes them.

“Oh,” said my client, looking slightly devastated. “I thought I handed it over and you did it all for me.”

Marketing is not something that is outsourced 100%. It’s a fundamental part of your business. Sure, there’ll be activities that happen all of the time when you’re not looking. And we’re not asking you to input on every single detail (unless that’s what you want to do). But we do need your input, especially in the early days. The more effort you put in up front to help us deliver a detailed plan, the less onus there is on you continuously.

That’s why I love it when a plan comes together. But to make it work, we all need to pull together.

Veronica Hannon