Outlining a marketing action timetable will help you organize actions and assign responsibility for their achievement. The goals come from the work you've done in the preceding sections of this topic. Keep the following three major guidelines in mind:
- Establish objective, measurable goals with deadlines. Broad, fuzzily defined sales goals are useless.
- Assign one person to oversee action steps. Shared responsibility means nobody is responsible.
- Discuss the action steps, timetables, and resources with the person responsible for attaining the objectives. If possible, involve everyone who works on the objective; this helps assure their cooperation.
There are six steps to the marketing action plan.
- State the goal
- Assign a target date for achieving the overall objective
- Assign responsibility to a single person
- Define the action steps. Achieving the objective requires that certain action steps be taken, in a logical sequence. The more definitive the actions steps, the better - since they can be more easily monitored.
- For each action step, assign a target date. You may also want to assign responsibility for finishing the step to another person; delegation may be the only way to attain these mediate goals. Include the resources needed for each action step, and keep track of them. (Budgets are needed here).
- Track the results and progress for the future.
You may wish to break this process down further, and add more detail for each goal and each major action step involved.
Once you have arrived at the action steps and their tentative due dates, timing becomes more and more important. One way to handle the timing problem is to work backwards from the target dates. When do you have to start an action step? What steps along the way are critical to reaching the target dates? The more intermediate dates you can establish the better; they provide benchmarks to help keep the process of attaining the goals.
The key here is that you want to strike a balance between no controls and too much control. Too much detail is stifling as well, don't overdo this step. Your job as owner is to set the goals and, with the people involved, the tactical objectives. Any finer detail is best left to the people involved. If they know what you expect and when, they'll do their best to meet those benchmarks and deadlines.
Think of it this way: Would you rather have control in your job over how to achieve desired results or would you prefer to have the job dumbed down with infinitely detailed to-do lists?
It the same for your employees. Once again: state the goals. Give timely feedback on how well progress is being made towards those goals by breaking them into short-term objectives with firm deadlines. Make sure that the right resources are in place to achieve those objectives.