Last week I was talking to a fellow marketing consultant about the best way to present a marketing plan.
It’s a balance between including all the information and avoiding detail overload. There was also the question of how best to order the information.
The answer is that different people need to organise their information in different ways.
In their book “Time Mastery”, Karen Meager and John McLachlan explain how people “chunk” their time differently. Some people think in small time chunks, such as an hour or 30 minutes. Other people think in bigger time chunks, such as days, weeks, months or even years. Our chunking preference is personal to each of us and is not limited to how we think about time. Big chunkers have big ideas, big dreams and big plans, but find details overwhelming. Small chunkers are most comfortable in the detail and will prefer a list of short tasks over one or two big tasks.
The second way that we sort information is either by theme or as a sequence. Sequencers naturally organise information in a timeline. They’ll put first things first and so on. Themers think about tasks or information in themes, organised by categories. They’ll happily complete tasks in any order within their current theme, such as ‘marketing’ or ‘planning a holiday’.
There's a free online quiz if you want to find out your own chunking preference.
Big chunk marketing plans
If you’re a ‘big chunk’ person, you’ll find yourself naturally drawn to high-level plans. The best kind of marketing plan for you is an outline or strategic plan. The bigger chunk you are, the shorter your plan should be. I have a client who is extremely big chunk and so their entire 2019 marketing plan was less than 2 pages long. He wasn’t interested in the detail and I knew he’d find it overwhelming and unhelpful if I included it.
The challenge big chunk people have is in the execution of their big chunk plans. A strategic plan is great, but you do also need to know how to execute it. Make sure you have a small chunk person on your team who can work on the detail to make your big ideas happen.
Small chunk marketing plans
If you’re a ‘small chunk’ person, then you’ll need a detailed marketing plan. You’re probably happy with a long to-do list as long as each task is relatively small. Small chunkers might also prefer to plan in smaller timescales. If a 12-month plan is too much, create a 3-month plan and then create a new plan each quarter.
Small chunk people often struggle with setting their strategy. It’s high-level and so they may find it uncomfortable to think about. If that’s the case, find a strategic person to help you set your strategy and identify the big areas you need to work on. Then you can get on with making the detail happen. Break down each big task into the smaller tasks involved in it, so you don’t find yourself overwhelmed.
Sequenced Marketing Plans
If you’re naturally a sequencer (whether big chunk or small chunk) you’ll want to plan in a sequenced order. Organise your marketing plan in the order you will execute your tasks. Putting your marketing activities on a timeline usually works well for sequencers.
Smaller chunkers might prefer to have a detailed timeline, specifying what they’ll do each day for the upcoming week. Bigger chunkers might pick one big task to focus on for each month (or quarter) of the year.
Themed Marketing Plans
Themers will prefer to have their plans organised by category. What do you need to do with your content, social media, advertising, PR etc.? Depending on your chunk size, you’ll want more or less detail in each theme.
Themers sometimes struggle with prioritisation more than sequencers. It can be easy to find yourself doing a task that is not a priority instead of something that is. You've ended up there because it's in the theme you are currently in. Once you've worked out your tasks for each theme, arrange the themes in priority order. If necessary, find a sequencer to help you.
Need help creating your own marketing plan?
If you need help structuring your marketing plan, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. If you’re not ready for marketing consultancy yet, let’s keep in touch. To see my latest blogs and news once a month, sign up to receive my newsletter.
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