My marketing manager’s plan isn’t working. How do I fix it?

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My marketing manager’s plan isn’t working. How do I fix it?

All marketing plans fail in some way or another. Most marketing plans fail completely before they have reached the end. Many marketing plans fail absolutely spectacularly and relatively early on. If you’ve got a marketing manager dealing with your marketing then you may have to help them to find the right solution to their marketing plan’s failure before it gets too late.

Getting a marketing plan right is always about data, strategy, contingency and perhaps a little bit of luck. If you’ve got a marketing manager delivering a marketing plan then you have some responsibility in helping them find the right plan to start off with, likewise, you can’t then abdicate responsibility for the delivery of the plan and for the results. Often they’ll need the help.

You’ll know if the marketing plan is failing because you won’t see the anticipated return on investment. Early on you’ll have a gut feeling about the performance of the activity in the plan,  but before long you should have the cold harder data to back up your thoughts. Often you’ll be able to work this out from your digital marketing activities more easily than some of your offline activities.

Communicating With Your Marketing Manager About The Marketing Plan Failure

One of the first things to say is you need to be able to have an open and frank conversation with your marketing manager. It’s fair to say they will know the marketing plan isn’t going to plan and from personal experience, I can confirm this is a very stressful situation to find oneself in.

When discussing the marketing strategy and marketing plan with your marketing manager it’s important to make sure they understand they are in a safe environment. Demonstrate to them that you accept that the failure of a marketing plan to deliver the predicted ROI is in part your fault as their manager and explain that you understand that marketing plans are speculative and need to be changed as more data is gathered. I’m assuming here that you are the kind of business that works together to get things over the line and doesn’t scapegoat marketing managers for the failure of their best efforts.

Remember that whilst many people consider marketing to be about promotion, remember there are many strings to marketing which are often not touched by the marketing manager in a business. As such, before speaking to your marketing manager, consider all the marketing-related areas, including pricing and product, which often sit outside a marketing plan in an established business, to determine if you’ve got everything else right.

Regularly Review Your Marketing Plan

Whether your marketing plan is performing or underperforming, it’s important you regularly review your marketing plan in order to make sure you can react when changes need to be made before those ‘issues’ become normalised.

Remember that people bring their biases into the marketing planning process and many marketing plans have an element of inevitable failure baked in because the marketing manager was persuaded or forced to include something against their better judgement. If you’ve played your part in choosing the tactics and channels in the marketing plan then you should also review your influence on the plan and how whether you’ve damaged the marketing manager’s ability to deliver it.

Failure Of The Marketing Plan vs Failure To Deliver The Marketing Plan

When you’re thinking about whether your marketing plan is failing one of the first things you should be looking at is whether it’s really the marketing plan that’s failing or whether it’s your marketing manager’s failure to deliver the marketing plan that’s preventing success. 

There are many reasons why your marketing manager may find it difficult to deliver the marketing plan. If your plan is failing because the marketing manager is not able to deliver, this maybe because it was too ambitious for the resources available for the delivery. You may also find that elements of the marketing plan have not been implemented by the marketing manager because past data informs them that the activity won’t work, however, they may be unsure what to replace the activity with. The marketing manager may be prioritising their other work over the delivery of the marketing plan.

If it is the case that the failure of the marketing plan is due to your marketing managers failure to deliver on the plan, you may find that they just need more support and guidance, and perhaps even some reassurance. If the marketing plan completely fails, it not only reflects on them personally, it reflects on the wider management, who should all have some influence in the plan and its delivery. It should never get to the point where a marketing plan results in complete failure and it should never be something that a marketing manager is forced out of a role for, although this does happen time after time.

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