So, here we are, in mid-September, rapidly approaching the fourth quarter, and your manager says to you, “How’s it coming?” Before you answer, you stop to think about what you’ve accomplished this year with your marketing plan and how those accomplishments may be falling short of your intended goals. When this happens, know that you’re not alone. Many marketing professionals are on overload and struggling to deliver according to their department’s strategic marketing plan. Before beating yourself over the head, consider these common organizational conditions that impact the marketing department’s performance. Once you recognize them, then you can take the necessary corrective action.
Common Organizational Conditions
1. The company underwent a merger or acquisition. When this happens, priorities and responsibilities shift. It puts a wrench into plans and causes marketing teams to go into a downward spiral. What’s needed is think time to regroup, reevaluate, reprioritize and re-budget.
2. There have been leadership changes. Whenever there is a change at the top level, strategies and action plans come under scrutiny. The corporate vision, mission and culture might be altered. As a result the environment is subject to fears, uncertainty and doubt. This is when transparency and communications become essential to align marketing and corporate goals.
3. Marketplace conditions are evolving. There may be situations outside of anyone’s control, whether through natural disasters, unexpected global economic or political changes, or technological or scientific breakthroughs. In any case, these situations create the need to recognize new facts, and review and revise any existing marketing plan accordingly.
4. There have been marketing department personnel changes. Whether through attrition or reorganization, employees may come and go and positions may be created or eliminated. During these transitions, be prepared and give full visibility to loss of personnel resources. Consider bringing in outside resources in the form of professional services to keep projects and priorities moving forward even when staffing is limited or stretched to the max.
5. There are changing priorities. It happens in the best of companies. In a competitive business environment, priorities change frequently. It takes nimble, flexible and strategic skills to evaluate and adapt to these circumstances. It also takes sufficient resources: time, money and personnel to keep the current marketing plan and programs on track. Sometimes individual and corporate priorities are misaligned. It is at these times that collaboration and communication are essential to make sure everyone is on the same page.
“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.” – Niccolo Machiavelli
Realign the Marketing Plan
Remember, the keys to marketing plan implementation are:
- Clearly identified responsibilities
- A defined schedule
- An approved budget
- A mechanism for review and revision.
Finally, don’t forget the final step: a way to celebrate victories! When you identify and understand the organizational conditions affecting your marketing department, then you can implement strategies to realign the company’s marketing plan.