Pablo Picasso once said “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success”.  Whilst it’s fairly unlikely he was talking about digital marketing, it is certainly a point that applies here.

The starting point and the key to success with planning is to have a process in place and to stick to that process.  We’ll look at the discipline of that later in this chapter but let’s start by looking at the process itself.

There are several planning models that can be used for effective planning and in this section we will look at two core methods; Vision-based Planning and Real-time Planning.

Vision-based Planning

Definition: The process of creating a vision and following a clear six-stage process of delivering against it.

This method is probably the most common form of strategic planning.  There are 6 phases to this model beginning with creating a vision and ending with analysis and evolution where needed.  This method takes you from a starting point through to a final result which may remain fluid.  It is an excellent way of organising the delivery of your strategy and helps to guide your thinking during the strategy development process.  It is, however, more structured than some organisations would be willing to implement and more rigid that the real-time planning model we will look at below.  It also works on a future to present time frame i.e. there are specific goals to be achieved by a specific point in time and this may not be relevant to every plan.

Let’s look at the 6 stages:

  • Identify your Vision Statement
  • Produce your Mission Statement
  • Establish your Primary Goals
  • Create specific Objectives and Strategies to reach each Goal
  • Implement Action Plans to fulfil each Strategy
  • Put the Actions Plans into effect, evaluate and evolve

We discuss this in more detail, as well as looking at real-time planning and how to build out each stage in my book, Digital Marketing Strategy.