A Marketer's Lens By Danette Amstein
Danette Amstein is a managing principal for Midan Marketing - a full-service agency that solely focuses on supporting the meat industry.

Want year-end success? Re-evaluate your plan now

(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)

“So, how did that work out?”

This is a question my grandmother used to ask me with her hands on her hips and one eyebrow raised. You can guess the “I-told-you-so” tone. It was always after I had failed miserably at something I claimed I knew how to do.

Nanny — as all of her grandkids called her — was a farmer’s wife and a beautician. She was also a planner. In my younger years, I was not. Thankfully, she taught me a thing or two about the value of a plan to create a desired outcome.

Many of you began FY20 planning well before FY19 was over. There were strategies to set, tactics to create and budgets to develop. Whether it was the company’s strategic plan or a brand’s marketing plan, you worked hard to wrap it up before Christmas. After the holidays, you returned to work, pulled out the newly minted plan, gave it a quick read, tossed it back in the drawer and turned your attention to putting out your latest fire. Here’s where it gets tricky for all of us: If we aren’t careful, the urgency of what’s in our inbox will take precedence over the long-term outcomes we want for the year.

Planning is designed to set the most direct path forward to success. You worked hard to develop the plan. Here are three things you can do now to ensure you work the plan: 

  • Re-evaluate the plan. 
    It’s time to pull the plan out again. Confirm that the direction you wanted to head in months ago still makes sense, that the assumptions hold true, that the market conditions have not changed your landscape. If you are on the fresh side of the meat business and you export, there is no way you could have planned for how the fires in Australia or the coronavirus could have impacted your momentum. But now you can. You will find you are in one of three positions: 
    • All is good and you should continue down your set path.
    • You need a minor course correction of tactics/resources/budget allocations to account for unforeseen events.
    • You should toss the plan; so much has changed it is best to conduct a complete redo.
  • Reintroduce the plan with your team.
    Consider author Lewis Carroll’s quote: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Just like you, your team is busy with their everyday duties. Unless you are talking about your plan frequently, it is likely buried on their desk. It’s up to you to get it out of the back of their minds and into the forefront. If your team doesn’t know what the plan is (or that it has changed), then how are they to help you accomplish it?
  • Measure results along the way.
    If you know where you are going, it is helpful to know how you are progressing toward the desired outcome. Too many companies put a plan together and then only report on it quarterly or at the end of the year. Such infrequent reporting does not allow for course corrections and makes it easy for your team members to forget what they’re really aiming for. This is where a dashboard comes into play; it allows everyone to see key metrics at a glance. We have been working on putting these in place at Midan, and I find them immensely helpful.

By putting these three tips into practice now, you will be in a better position to report positive results at year’s end, avoiding the proverbial “So, how did that work out?” that none of us wants to face.

Got tips for working your plan? I would love to hear them!


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