Thoughts and ideas from SHAKE Marketing Group

Bring Your Marketing Plan to Life. Build an Army To Execute.

Now that you have a relevant message to tell, and you have built a content strategy, you need to execute your marketing plan. You won't be able to execute the plan by yourself. You're going to need the cooperation of others within your organization. In fact, you need to build an army of people and resources who will take hold of your marketing plan and use it strategically to maximize its potential.As Sun Tzu, a legendary Chinese military general, once said, "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."

Strategy and Tactics Must Go Hand in Hand

Sun Tzu not only describes the difference between strategy and tactics, but also underlines their interdependence. Simply put, strategy minus tactics is just big thoughts and no action. Tactics without strategy is plain chaos, a disaster waiting to happen.If you want your organization to achieve goals, then you have to make sure your strategy and tactics work in absolute tandem.

Here's the problem:

As marketers, you aren't always involved in building or directing a strategy that can be implemented. Also, leadership members don't always understand how long things take to execute in marketing. This is a recipe for impatience and miscommunication. Although marketers are great at juggling multiple projects and managing long to-do lists, the team often needs to take a step back and evaluate the marketing execution. It's easy to go head-first into an execution plan that ends up running counter to what leadership actually wants.

3 Things To Consider in Your Marketing Execution Plan

To ensure your marketing plan is focused on the same goals as the rest of the organization, take into consideration your budget for marketing, the available resources you have to work with, and the structure of your execution plan.

1. Budget

Some companies assign marketing a budget that is typically a percentage of the revenue. This is a "top-down" approach. Other companies want to see a fully-baked plan built from the ground up. This is a "bottoms-up" approach to budgeting. Both approaches have their perks, but in most cases, a hybrid approach is best to ensure there is enough money put into marketing to get the desired results. To give you a ballpark figure to work with, HubSpot says B2B companies should allocate roughly 7.8% of their revenue to marketing.

2. Resources

The resources you have to work with begin with the people on your marketing team. Well-rounded teams have certain competencies that help them break free from copycat marketing and create something original and effective. These competencies (which we wrote about in our book, Stand Out Marketing) can be summarized using the acronym VALUE.

VALUE Competencies

Let me break it down for you, letter by letter.

  • V is for Visionary. A visionary on your marketing team is imaginative and farsighted and can create a relevant and unique marketing strategy.
  • A is for Activator. The activator works hard with the rest of the organization to buy into the marketing strategy and then execute it.
  • L is for Learner. A learner is typically customer-focused and is curious about what customers really want. Learners are good at experimenting to find the marketing strategy that works best.
  • U is for Usefulness. You need someone on your team who can connect the dots, bring different areas of the strategy together, and make things happen.
  • E is for Evaluator. An evaluator is driven by analysis, and can make helpful decisions about what is working and what doesn't work based on data.

Read more about VALUE competencies and how they help your marketing stand out.


At some point, you're probably going to ask yourself if you need some extra help. Maybe your team doesn't have all the VALUE competencies. Maybe you are lacking in manpower and can't execute your strategy on time. Whatever the case, you need to decide if you should hire more full-time employees or if you should outsource some of your work.I've written about this in this article, and summarized some of the questions you can ask yourself as you consider your options:

  • Does your project require specialized skills? If so, this is an excellent reason to outsource a consultant.
  • Are you having trouble creating lasting changes? It can be really hard to make changes in your internal team. Sometimes, you need a third party to step in and provide the support and initiative to make people change how they do things.
  • Do you lack internal resources? For instance, is everyone on your team already overworked, and now you have another project to add to the mix? You can outsource work to ensure your new project actually gets the attention it needs.
  • Are you looking for a neutral recommendation? There's nothing like an outside consultant to look at a project with fresh eyes and spot problems and hitches that you have overlooked for so long that they became invisible.

Outsourcing some of your marketing work can give you a big leg up, making it possible to execute your strategy in a timely manner. In fact, freelancers are very popular these days. Last year, annual earnings by US freelancers grew by $100 million, now totaling $1.3 trillion. Finding the right marketing consultant for you should be easier than ever thanks to the growing talent pool.

Technology and Tools

We've been talking mostly about the value of people who are working on your project. But what about technology? Having the right MarTech and other valuable marketing tools can save you a lot of time and effort. AI tools are in the news these days, and it's definitely a great time to learn more about your AI options and how they can work for you. Take some time to learn more about ChatGPT-4, content creation tools, customer support platforms, and other technologies that can help you get more done in less time.

3. Structure

The structure of your marketing strategy will definitely play into how it is executed. Consider the difference between specialists and generalists. Specialists have a narrower focus, but they can give you a lot of depth. Generalists can help with the big picture of your strategy.Let's say you want to market to financial services. You're going to need marketers who understand the financial sector. You're going to need a finance specialist.What about product specialists? If you sell something highly technical, you will need the right level of specialist who understands the product and how to translate that to meet customer needs and problems. If you are marketing to certain geographies, you may need native language speakers to help ensure you're getting the message across correctly.Generalists on your marketing team form a strong support for your framework, but you need to balance out the structure of your strategy with new verticals.

How To Evaluate New Ideas for Your Marketing Plan

I advise clients to bake 80% of their marketing plan and leave 20% open to experiment, so they can try new things.But what do you do if your CEO comes up with a new idea? Or your salespeople are struggling to close deals?You need a tool to evaluate new ideas. One excellent tool is the Eisenhower matrix, which helps you decide on and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance. This matrix breaks into four quadrants:

  1. Do First. You focus on the important, high-priority tasks that need to be accomplished right away.
  2. Schedule. You schedule other important tasks that are not as high of a priority.
  3. Delegate. If you have something that needs to be done quickly, but it's not that important, delegate it to someone else.
  4. Don't Do. Don't even bother doing anything that is neither urgent nor important.

To help you make the most out of the Eisenhower matrix, remember that it's a tool to help you evaluate your new ideas in terms of importance and urgency. Don't waste a lot of time overthinking which ideas get put into which category. When used correctly, you should be able to prioritize your time for better efficiency. It also helps you stay on track with your marketing execution plan.

Are You Ready To Execute Your Marketing Strategy?

This step in the Confident Marketer's Playbook helped you see the importance of building an army to execute your marketing strategy. You need the support and abilities of people who can make your marketing goals come to life.

  • We looked at the different VALUE competencies which can help your marketing plan stand out from the sea of sameness.
  • We considered the value of outsourcing some of your work, and we looked at different resources you may need to get more accomplished.
  • We discussed the budget that will feed your marketing plan.
  • We discussed how new verticals in your structure can help you add depth when needed.
  • Because new ideas can be key to the success of a new marketing strategy, we also learned more about the Eisenhower matrix and how that can help you evaluate your new ideas effectively and efficiently.

Everything we covered in this step is designed to help you be a more confident marketer who can put together an army of people and resources to stand by you, get your work done, and help you accomplish your goals.The final step in the Confident Marketer's Playbook is called "Becoming the Leader for Your Brand." I will explain how you can get into the driver's seat and make your marketing strategy take off! Complete the Confident Marketer Scorecard to see how your marketing strategies score. It's free and is designed to give you instant feedback that will help you in the real world.

← Read Step 7: Making Content King (Steps to Create your Content Strategy)

Read Step 9:

A spiral notebook shows a marketing plan checklist.

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