the image is a blog header titled How Long Should You Stick To A Marketing Plan

One of the many benefits of digital marketing is all the various tracking options that are available. So, you can see how well (or not) a marketing plan is going. But, if it isn’t going according to plan, how long should you stick to a marketing plan before changing it?

Discovery And Preparation

Whereas other methods of marketing can get instant and easy to measure results, mailshots, Facebook and Twitter, for example, SEO takes a little bit longer to have a noticeable effect.

The first 2 to 3 months of a marketing plan should include time for the discovery and preparation stages.

If a marketing company goes in all guns blazing without conducting enough research, then they are likely to come unstuck rather quickly.

So, the discovery stage will include a website audit and then research into where the company is within its own industry and any competitors.

In order to measure any SEO goals, any websites will need to be worked on to make sure that the relevant data is collected.

Then the content marketing plan will be created and the type of content that will be needed.

From web content to blogs to backlinks and all the kind of content that should bring people to the website.

From the fourth month onwards, you should be able to see what is and isn’t working. This is probably the earliest time that you will be able to start to analyse any data.

If it is a marketing plan for a small business, it should be relatively easy to be quite agile with the marketing plan and change direction as and when required.

For companies though this is less likely to be as straightforward…

Big Businesses

Creating marketing plans for or with larger companies, like all aspects of a project lifecycle, can often take a long time to be put into place.

When you have several departments, managers and directors involved, the process of agreeing on the marketing isn’t going to be agreed in a one-hour meeting.

Which is all fine and from a big business point of view, they want to know what they are spending money on and why they are spending it.

So, by their very nature, these types of marketing plans are also going to prove to be trickier to adjust.

There can be a tendency, once a marketing plan has been signed off, to breath a sigh of relief that it’s been and then all parties involved just go to their separate departments and carry on.

For one thing, good project management and good marketing need good communication. This applies whether you are working for a sole trader or Barclays Bank.

If a digital marketing agency can see that a particular strand of the marketing plan is not performing as well, they need to be able to inform the project team and instruct what to do next.

Regular marketing plan meetings are essential then, not only so that the marketers can update everyone on how the plan is performing, but to get input from other areas of the business.

SEO is Always Evolving

SEO isn’t an exact science and to add to the mix, the rules are constantly evolving.

Keywords are a good example. Keywords helped improve SEO, then Google realised that people were being more specific with their searches. ‘Burger King’ became ‘Is there a Burger King in Burnley?’

So, longtail keywords have become an SEO industry standard. Then, on the 21st October this year Google announced the rollout of the new BERT algorithm.

Yes, BERT. It stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Effectively it looks at how some words are interpreted and the context in which they are used.

This is a prime example of the evolution of SEO and just one reason why marketing plans need to be reactive as well as pro-active.

The Right Data

When collecting and analysing SEO data it is vital that you collect relevant data. With Google Analytics there is a wealth of options on data you can use.

But, ask why you need it. For example, you will want to see how many people are coming to a website via a social media link, or how many website visitors fill an online contact form.

You may not necessarily need to know how many people read a particular blog post. If you go into too much detail it can be easy to get bogged down and not concentrate on what is important and relevant.

In Summary

As we have said earlier, a little patience is required before deciding whether to change a marketing plan. The important factor is to make sure the plan can be changed or adapted as quickly as possible. With regular updates, this should be achievable.

We will leave you with some ideas on digital marketing from the ever-reliable Neil Patel.

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est. 2009