I was told a story once by the head of marketing for a state government agency that resonated with me and my personal career mission.
This state government agency hired a consulting firm to develop a marketing strategy that would help them overhaul their brand image. They spent over 3 million dollars for this strategy.
The consulting agency analyzed and interviewed employees and state residents for months, and in the end, they delivered an impressive presentation at the state capitol to the executive team accompanied by a beautifully bound 100+ page strategic document.
At the end of the presentation, everyone was very impressed and excited to move forward. The agency knocked it out of the park.
Unfortunately, that marketing strategy collected dust on the top of the executive director’s bookcase. 3 million dollars of taxpayers’ money gone. What went wrong?
No one thought about the budget and resources it would take to implement the strategy, train employees, and well, just get the stuff done. The budget ran out before they could head into implementation.
“Implementation is just as important, if not more important, that the strategy itself.”– Tierra Wilson
Believe it or not, this happens often. Everyone including government agencies, startups with millions in funding and large brands with billions in profits, fail to efficiently deliver on marketing strategies. Why?
The answer is simple. When objectives change on an executive level, the first step is to develop the strategy. Executives are known to focus on the big picture. So the C-Suites and the VPs want to know… what are we doing? How are we going to do it? What’s the ROI?
What is not asked is how do we get this done consistently and effectively without overwhelming our current team? What will it really take to reach the ROI projections?
When those questions aren’t asked and researched, strategies don’t meet goals and they instead become inconsistencies. As a result, more money and resources are spent to correct the implementation issues.
“Lack of consistency is a major vulnerability.”– Gary Vaynerchuck
So how does an organization understand and avoid implementation issues? By planning in advance. The best way to do this is to conduct a Pre-Implementation Assessment. This will allow you to see what will be needed to bring your marketing strategy to life.
What should you include in the document?
1. Assessment of Current Employee Resources
Make a list of all the current staff members that are in positions that relate to specific goals and objectives of the marketing strategy. Under each staff member’s name, list out their strengths and weaknesses as well as their current workload. (If your staff is not going to be able to implement the new strategy in full, hiring outside contractors who are experts in implementation can be cheaper than training or hiring and onboarding new employees).
2. Detailed Implementation Calendar
This should include each major objective from the marketing strategy, individual tasks needed to reach the objective, the responsible party and the approximate month of completion. ( It’s important at this point in the process that you don’t get too hung up on dates. That should be the project manager’s job. )
3. List of Current Resources and Collateral
If you are an established business, this additional section is for you. Many times things don’t need to be created from scratch. This includes spreadsheets, designs, copy, code, landing pages, email templates, etc. Creating a list of any current resources and collateral that can be used to reach strategy objectives will save money as well as unnecessary hours searching for resources. The list should include the name of the collateral and links to where the original documents can be found.
4. Implementation Budget
Knowing exactly how much it will cost to implement a marketing strategy is key to calculating your ROI. Your implementation budget should focus solely on man-hours. How many hours will it take and at what cost per hour? Simple, but often missed. (Project management should be included in this budget too. Many people overlook the number of hours PM takes).
Thinking through your staff, resources and budget before you begin implementing a marketing strategy will allow you stay on budget and reach your ROI quickly.