When you’re developing a marketing plan, it’s easy to get carried away with all your ideas and forget about time. But a well-executed marketing plan can help achieve your company’s goals faster and more effectively. A good marketing plan outlines what activities you need to perform and when they need to be completed. Ultimately, it allows you to see how much effort and resources are needed to meet your goals and for your campaign to succeed.
What’s a Marketing Plan Timeline?
A marketing plan timeline is a visual representation of the activities that need to be performed and their duration. It shows how long each activity will take and how each leads to the next step in the process. A timeline for your marketing plan also helps you track the progress of your marketing campaign, identify areas that need improvement, and reallocate resources as needed.
Timelines can be used as a road map that begins from where your business is today and ends at your marketing goal. A comprehensive marketing plan also displays each step you need to take to reach those goals and the time and resources required for each step. In addition, it highlights aligning tasks that help meet those goals, like hiring a photographer for an upcoming event.
Why is a Marketing Plan Timeline Important?
A good marketing plan helps you take a holistic view of your marketing efforts. That’s important because it keeps you on track by providing an end-to-end view of the entire marketing effort. It also allows you to identify gaps in your plan, readjust resources, and stay focused on achieving your short-term and long-term business goals.
Another benefit of a marketing plan timeline is that it allows you to understand the interrelationship between your various marketing activities which helps you make more informed decisions.
5 Steps to Create Your Marketing Plan Timeline
- Layout your goals
- Identify all steps or activities included in your plan
- Estimate the time needed for each activity
- Determine how much of that time is available
- Evaluate your timeline
Step 1: Layout your goals
A marketing plan timeline all starts with your goals. By identifying your goals before establishing a timeline, you can design a plan that works best for the time you have and the amount of time required to achieve your marketing goals.
Step 2: Identify all steps or activities included in your plan
List all the activities included in your marketing plan in order. When creating your plan timeline, it’s important to identify first the activities needed to achieve your marketing goals. An end goal of a product launch won’t start with writing social media posts, but rather target market research or competitive analysis of similar companies, products, or even apps.
Step 3: Estimate the time needed for each activity
For each activity included on your marketing plan timeline, estimate how much time each step will take. This means identifying the deliverables and the time required to complete each action item.
Some tasks, like monitoring influencers or industry accounts, may take 15 minutes a day, and other activities, like writing a media release, may take up to two hours. There are several variables, too, like who’s been designated to complete the assignment, how much expertise do they have in this area, or has the project has been assigned to an intern who’s new to your company?
Step 4: Determine how much of that time is available
Now that you know how much time each activity will more or less take, find out how much of this time (and resources) are available. If you have a team of marketers, knowing how much time each team member has available will be helpful.
This helps you determine how long your marketing efforts or campaign will take and how much planning time you need. If you’re taking on the entire marketing plan and implementation, plus running your business – I’ll caution you to get some help. You could end up resenting your business.
Step 5: Evaluate your timeline
As you work through your timeline, evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing plan. Do you need to make any changes based on the timing of activities or campaigns? It’s always a good idea to evaluate your plan’s progress and measure performance through the end of the timeline.
The Bottom Line on Marketing Plan Timelines
A good marketing plan timeline will help you track the progress of your marketing campaign and identify areas that need improvement. It will also help you reallocate resources as needed. With a marketing plan timeline, you can see how much time, effort, and resources are needed for your marketing campaign to succeed. Ultimately, a well-planned marketing strategy will help you focus on what needs to be done and will provide a roadmap on how to get there.