Building A Marketing Plan: Using The Categories (Part 2)

In the previous blog, we discussed the fifth step in a marketing plan: organizing your marketing plan under several different categories. We mentioned that you could either have a category entitled “Social Media” encompassing organic posts (things you post for free) and paid digital ads through various social media platforms, or you could have separate ones for each. The key point is that there was no right or better way; having a plan is more valuable than wasting time trying to decipher the best way. 

When you choose what categories you want to use, you may get hung up on the concept of alignment. For instance, you have four rows—one for each quarter—and twenty columns—one for each type of marketing you want to do. (In reality, you will likely have three or four columns, but for the sake of the point we are driving home here, let’s imagine you have considerably more than that.) 

Thinking about how all these categories will align may cause your head to explode. In other words, having twenty categories is great, but ensuring your marketing message stays consistent will be a battle. Does what you’re saying in your newsletter match what you post on Instagram? 

About that last question, we have some good news. Having a plan, in the way we have described, is more important than ensuring your messaging is consistent. General Patton pointed out, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” It’s not that someone shouldn’t worry about alignment, but the bigger problem is a lack of planning overall. Once you have a plan, then you can make the plan better, i.e., aligning the channels. 

Patton’s quote is about traction. Executing a plan now gives you something to work with and react to. The way to get strategic alignment is by starting with a plan or a basic framework to understand what needs to be aligned. 

Why Broad Plans Lead to Strategic Alignment 

Returning to what we discussed, we see that social media could bleed into digital ads, leading to search ads, which could overlap into a category just around the search. Do you want that lumped into Google Ads when you think about SEO and organic search (people finding you on Google)? This could land under one category labeled “Search.” Or would you prefer that ads be separate?

Choosing the word “prefer” in the previous sentence was deliberate. It doesn’t matter how you break up these categories. By deciding on categories in general—in whatever way they make sense to you—you can then look at them and use them as a launching point as to what else you could do under each one. Furthermore, there’s nothing that says you have to do more. 

The Power of a Plan

Organizing your marketing efforts into categories is the foundation of building a more extensive, effective marketing plan. Whether you group social media and digital ads or keep them separate, the important takeaway is that having a plan is more valuable than striving for the perfect one from the outset. Executing a good plan now provides the foundation to improve and align your strategies over time.

In the next blog in this series, we’ll elaborate on this concept by discussing six categories you can use to get started. 

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Spotlight Branding

Spotlight Branding is a content marketing and branding firm for lawyers and other professionals. Our goal is to help you create an online presence that positions you as a credible expert in your field, keeps you connected with your network in order to stay top of mind and increase referrals, and to become more visible online so prospects can find you!