Marketing Plans: Progress Reports & Revisions

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Marketing progress reports can paint a picture of your successes and areas of weakness. In this lesson, you'll learn more about evaluating and revising marketing plans as appropriate.

Your Marketing Report Card

Remember when you walked the halls of your elementary, junior high, and high schools? You spent your days attending classes with friends and your evenings catching up on homework or attending a football game.

A marketing progress report can tell you areas where you are succeeding as well as areas that need improvement.
A marketing progress report can tell you areas where you are succeeding as well as areas that need improvement.

Every few months, you and your parents would receive a report card summarizing how well you were doing in class and noting any areas of improvement so you could move on to the next grade and the next. Eventually you would graduate and move out into the real world. A good report on your report card would tell you where you were succeeding while a bad report would show areas where you needed to revise your studies and redouble your efforts.

Marketing plans, while they don't rely on report cards, do incorporate components of a report card. They provide progress reports to show areas of success and allow you to make revisions in areas that are lacking.

Let's talk more about evaluating the successes and failures of your marketing plan, how to report your progress to management, and ways to revise and improve a plan that has already been implemented.

Evaluating Your Plan

A marketing plan is a type of strategy for what types of marketing tactics will be implemented in the course of a year to match and complement a business's objectives and goals. For example, if a business objective is to increase brand awareness, part of the marketing plan might be to develop additional social media channels to promote your brand in the public.

A marketing plan, however, should be considered a living document, meaning that it is fluid and flexible rather than rigid and unmovable. It should be consistently reviewed, tweaked, and evaluated to determine if your objectives are being met and if your strategies are paying off. Here are some ways you might evaluate your marketing plan once it is put into practice:

  • Return on investment: Are you seeing the revenues you expected as the result of various areas of your marketing plan?
  • Customer feedback: What is the general public saying about your marketing strategies? If there is negative feedback about a particular tactic or approach, it may need reviewing.
  • Internal response: How do other departments feel about your marketing efforts? Are they seeing more phone calls or inquiries? Do members of your own marketing department feel something is or isn't working?
  • Competitor reaction: Has your competition scrambled to outdo some marketing effort you've implemented, or are they attempting to copy your efforts? That should tell you whether your tactics are working.
  • Telling analytics: If you set a goal for your campaign to achieve a greater click-through rate or a higher open rate for emails and neither number is moving in the right direction, it is time to reevaluate.

Reporting Progress

A progress report for your marketing plan is a good barometer of what you've been doing, what has been successful or problematic, and plans and strategies for the future.

Progress reports should lay out what has been happening and the results of that work, problems that need to be corrected going forward, and how the remainder of the plan will be implemented. When writing, use thorough explanations rather than short lists or bullet points. Be honest and transparent in your assessment. Back up any data with numerical or statistical information where you have it available.

Lastly, consider completely regular progress reports so that successes can be praised while problem areas can be addressed before too much time and resources are invested in a pointless effort.

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