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Setting goals for your marketing team is one of the most powerful actions you can take. After all, one study after another has shown that goal setting is linked to higher achievement.
But setting goals isn’t enough—all of us who’ve missed them at least once can vouch for that.
Your reason to miss a marketing goal doesn’t have to be huge. Take these examples:
This list could go on. The issue isn’t with your marketing strategy—it’s with everything it takes to execute it.
The solution lies in building a marketing implementation plan. This guide will help you:
In other words, your marketing work will actually get done and bring your company the results it wants.
Marketing implementation is the process of turning your marketing strategy into real-life actions: tasks and projects, people responsible for them, and deadlines.
In other words, it’s about bringing your marketing plan to life. Instead of living on paper, it starts living on a day-to-day calendar because it’s translated into action.
According to Statista, 71% of marketing professionals believe their marketing strategy is effective. While that sounds promising, it still leaves almost a third of marketers feeling unsuccessful.
With marketing implementation, it becomes a lot easier to identify if the issue is with the way a strategy is executed, or with the strategy itself.
If there’s a marketing strategy document somewhere in your drawer or your hard drive, you may feel that that’s more than enough to keep your team going.
Sounds like you? Consider these questions:
Here’s how a marketing implementation plan will benefit your entire team.
A survey of CoSchedule’s email and social media audience of marketers revealed a huge insight: 65% of marketers don’t use marketing project management software. On top of that, 69% don’t include a dedicated marketing project manager.
Without a tool or a person to tell you when things need to get done by, it’s easy to let tasks slip.
This is particularly the case with projects that aren’t urgent or that might take a while to yield huge results (for example, content marketing). It’s easy to keep pushing them back and get distracted with things that seem more urgent.
With a marketing implementation plan, marketing strategies become real-world actions that need to happen by a certain date in order to work.
“I thought you were supposed to do that.”
Possibly the most dreaded eight words for any team, ever.
Things get done when they exist on a specific to-do list. They definitely don’t get done when they only exist in a marketing strategy document.
With a marketing implementation plan, goals and projects are broken down into workflows and individual tasks. Then, as tasks get assigned, their owners know how their work impacts everyone else’s work.
In other words, they know if they don’t do their part, the whole project could fall behind, and marketing goals will be missed.
Let’s talk about that marketing strategy document again.
Is it readily accessible for your whole team? Is it easy to understand and put into practice? And if we presume it’s 30 pages long, does everyone on your team know exactly where to find guidance for their next actions?
A marketing implementation plan takes your long-term plans and turns them into clear processes. And if you tend to stress about efficiency and deadlines, you’ll love planning in sprints as part of agile marketing, which we’ll cover in a later section.
These clear processes happen in the form of:
Ever reached the end of a quarter or a year and wondered how so many of the things you wanted to do never happened?
Maybe you wanted to test a new approach to social ads, or increase your focus on visual content. Maybe you hoped to double down on email marketing, or promote your company’s podcast better.
Somehow, all the meetings, emails, admin, reporting, and simply keeping up with your day-to-day work got in the way of it.
With the six steps outlined below, you’ll never fall behind on your marketing projects and goal again.
Here are the exact steps you can take to make your marketing strategy a reality—and a successful one!
The first step is to manage everyone’s expectations, including your stakeholders, your team, and yourself. This will remove unwanted pressure and create space for experiments and iterations.
If you planted a tree today, would you have a tree tomorrow?
Take that approach when implementing your marketing plan, too. Building an audience, generating demand, and gaining momentum all take time. Results take time, especially when you consider that results come in the form of traffic, social shares, leads, sales conversations, webinar attendees, revenue, and more.
Therefore, it’s up to you to figure out just how much time your results will likely take.
Depending on who you ask, the answer to “how long does content marketing take to work?” question is anywhere between 6 and 18 months.
The more honed in your marketing plan is (including your goals, audience, messaging, and more), the more accurate your predictions will be.
Your marketing plan is unique to you. It focuses on products or features you’re launching, metrics you want to hit, revenue you want to win.
Based on that focus, identify the resources that will help you get there, including talent and software.
For talent, you may look for:
When you know which skill sets you’ll need to implement your marketing plan, you can secure them in two main ways:
The second part of your resources are the tools your team needs to make your marketing plan happen.
Finding the right toolkit may take some testing and switching, but it will ultimately make your team more efficient.
Here are the software categories you should consider for your marketing stack:
When reviewing potential options, get your team involved—their experiences will help you build a marketing stack that will get them excited to use it.
CoSchedule’s survey revealed that only 16% of marketers have their entire marketing strategy documented. Others either have portions of the strategy documented, or none.
This feels like a great point to remind you that marketing isn’t about producing content; it’s about producing content that brings results.
A powerful marketing strategy results in profitable customer action—profitable being the key word.
A well-defined marketing strategy targets the right audience with the right content, at the right time, and with the right level of effort.
Building a marketing strategy is such an important process that CoSchedule has built a 15-chapter ultimate guide showing you exactly how to do it. If you haven’t created your marketing strategy yet, use the guide to help you.
And if you have, these are your cliff notes to help you document it.
You’ll fuel your marketing implementation plan by defining and documenting the following:
At this point, you have a really strong foundation. It’s time to turn your strategy into tasks that can be placed on specific people’s calendars.
How? By developing workflows for every type of content you’ll create.
There are 8 steps to building effective marketing workflows. For each type of content you create, do the following:
At the end of this process, you may end up with a task list that looks like this:
And on a calendar, it will look like this:
With a step-by-step map for every campaign and content format, you need a plan to keep your projects on track.
On top of that, this plan should also help you:
Luckily, there’s a way to make all of this happen: agile marketing.
Agile marketing breaks down silos by forming a cross-functional team. This team works on projects that intend to answer a user story, and they do so in so-called sprints (usually two weeks long).
They plan these sprints ahead of time and use daily stand-up meetings to stay on track. After the sprint is over, they review it and look for ways to improve next sprints.
Still not sold on agile marketing? Consider this: marketers using agile project management are 252% more likely to report success.
Want to give it a try? Use CoSchedule’s agile marketing guide to make it happen.
As you keep executing your marketing implementation plan, it’s useful to occasionally pause and look at how your team is doing. This will allow you to review your marketing strategy and adjust your implementation plan.
Here are some useful questions to answer when measuring your marketing implementation results:
Marketing implementation doesn’t have to feel overwhelming.
Don’t look at it as a mountain of tasks. Instead, see it as a simple list of small but powerful steps. They will help you and your team do the most impactful work and hit all your marketing goals.
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