Ugh. It's that time of year again. Time to pull together a marketing plan for next year. With today's competitive marketplace and innovative marketing tech, it's easy to get overwhelmed when planning for the next 12 months and beyond. If only there were an easy, practical method for laying out a marketing plan for 2021. But wait—maybe there is.
MSPOT is a simple, yet very effective way to keep track of every moving part within your 2021 marketing plan by putting them into one of five buckets: Mission, Strategy, Projects, Omissions, and Tracking.
When defining your Mission, identify what is important to your organization over the course of the next year and what specifically needs to be achieved. Write a sentence describing your goal and the approach you will take to get there. Answer the question, “what is our big-picture vision?” and make sure this sentence reflects that. Your mission should be the “why” behind your marketing plan—it’s the reason you’re creating the plan in the first place.
It’s important to remember that things change over the course of the year, but the Mission should not. In fact, the Mission rarely changes year over year, so if your mission seems to reflect a mid-term or short-term vision, go back to the drawing board until you have a Mission that flies at a high altitude and that will have some longevity.
The strategy is the action or actions you will take to achieve the mission. These actions should be documented and take into account your targets (audience) and resources (budget and team). If the mission is your destination, your strategy should answer the questions “How are we going to get there?”. There are usually one or two major parts of a strategy. You don’t want too many. Too many moving parts of a strategy, and you run the risk of losing focus on the objective. Also, your strategy changes annually as your company continues to grow, deal with changing markets, and set new goals.
Strategy is how you achieve your Mission, and Projects are what you need to achieve your Strategy.
Your projects are the actionable plays that will work within the strategy to help you achieve your mission. There should be 4 or 5 big initiatives for the year. For example, your projects might be to switch marketing automation vendors, build a new website, develop a new collateral packet for the sales team, and launch a fourth quarter lead generation campaign. Whatever your projects are, you need to hold the teams responsible for each project accountable. Schedule regular meetings to discuss these projects. Create workflows. Color code tasking: red and green. Green where the team is excelling and red where they are coming up short. And work on a timeline. Identify project completion dates by quarter or month. Plan your milestones to hit your completion date.
Remember, all of your projects flow upward into executing your strategy and achieving your mission. They should reflect that.
Truth be told, “Omissions” is probably the most important part of the plan. The “Omissions” in the MSPOT forces your team to acknowledge that you can’t do everything, you can’t achieve everything, and that you’ll need to make trade-offs and de-prioritize some things. You don’t necessarily have to look at them as projects you won’t “pursue” or “execute.” Be more cold-blooded. These are simply the projects the organization has decided not to fund this year. This isn’t a new concept: in 1997 Steve Jobs said, “Focus is about saying ‘no.’” I think we’d all agree that setting more goals doesn’t translate into getting more done. Using omissions, we become more discerning about our goals and identify the projects that will take us off the strategic path we’ve laid out for ourselves.
Be disciplined! Sticking to your guns on omissions means giving yourself permission to say no to projects that won’t support your overall mission and strategy or that perhaps will, but at too great a cost.
With the “Tracking” part of our plan, we identify key metrics that will be monitored as part of our marketing plan. This set of numbers should represent your entire funnel. You can’t just monitor revenue. Identify all of the numbers that go into generating revenue and monitor these as well. Social followers, website sessions, sales calls, conversions, and proposals delivered—all of these numbers might play a critical part in your organization’s growth. The data is what holds us accountable. It keeps us on task and focused. And it actually gives us the ability to optimize our efforts. After all, even if things don’t work out the way we planned, with data we can learn about where things went wrong and make better, more informed decisions as we move forward and build next year’s MSPOT. And that’s not losing, that’s just a different way to win.
And that’s it. The brilliance of MSPOT is in its simplicity, so don’t overthink it. Stick to the letters: "M", "S", "P", "O" and "T" and put a plan together that will get you to where you need to be.