When you are establishing a marketing plan, you can have a plan that is up-to-date or you can have a plan that is guaranteed to fail. That may sound a little harsh, but stop and think about how much things change in the span of a few months or even a few weeks. You should periodically go through your marketing plan and make sure that you tweak your strategy. This will help you be sure that your marketing strategy will survive the next stages of your business.
There is no magic rule for updating your strategy. Many entrepreneurs suggest updating your plan every month. However, you should keep a few things in mind before deciding how often you should have a new go at your plan:
Your industry. This is a big deal, because some businesses are more subject to changes than others. If you are in a technology field where new changes are taking place on a regular basis, you may need to update your plan on a biweekly basis. On the other hand, if you are in an industry that has been fairly stagnant, you may not need to update your plans more than a couple of times a year.
Fundamental changes to your company. You are likely to have a number of changes in your business that will require a new marketing plan. If you lose a lot of capital, you will have to create a leaner marketing budget and change your plan accordingly. The same goes if any of your key employees leave, as your marketing plan should be based around the strengths of your employees.
Key trends in your customer base. If customers are changing their behaviors or losing interest in a particular type of promotional effort, it is essential that you adjust your marketing plan.
Effectiveness. Has your plan been effective recently? There is no point going forward with a plan that isn't going to provide you the benefit you are looking for. If you are noticing a lag in your sales, it is probably a good time to take a second look at your plan.
A marketing plan that outdated quickly loses its effectiveness. Take the time to routinely go through your plan and make sure that your strategy is kept current.
Many businesses make the mistake of over-planning up front and never looking at their plan again. Instead, you should learn to frame your plan as an ongoing development that needs to be revised regularly.