Implementation Phase of the Strategic Marketing Process
The strategic marketing process consists of three phases: planning, implementation and control. When created effectively, this process ensures the success of an organization’s marketing strategy. When you focus on the implementation phase of the process, which is the putting of the marketing strategies and plans into action, there are ways to help make this step as successful as possible.
The implementation phase involves assignments addressing the who, where, when and how of reaching the goals and objectives of a business. It is the second step in the marketing process and involves the entire organization. Marketing implementation involves putting the marketing design, execution and scheduling into development. This phase requires the giving of specific tasks and timelines to individuals and groups. The business employees gather the necessary resources to execute the marketing program and release the organization’s product or service to the public.
The implementation phase of strategic marketing translates into policies and procedures for areas of the organization such as marketing, procurement, human resources, research and development, information systems and production. In most cases, a successful implementation has at its helm a very visible leader (i.e. CEO) to communicate effectively the necessary steps of the implementation. Everyone in the organization has some type of role, whether it is large or small. Follow-up endeavors are determined with the use of performance measuring tools. A strategic map is also helpful, as it identifies the key ingredients that direct the organization’s performance. These may include finances, operations, partners and work environment.
The implementation phase requires several aspects to be successful. First, trained people must be ready to use their unique skills and abilities to implement various elements of the plan. Second, sufficient time and money must be allocated to the project. Third, management must be communicative and ready for meetings with monthly updates. Fourth, the technology and management systems necessary to track progress must be in place. Finally, the workforce must be comfortable with the plan and motivated to succeed.
According to My Strategic Plan, there are several phases of implementation. These are: 1) finalize the strategic plan with input from all invested parties; 2) align the budget to annual goals; 3) produce various versions of the plan for each group; 4) establish a system for tracking and monitoring the plan; 5) establish a performance management and reward system; 6) present the plan to the entire organization; 7) build annual department plans around the corporate plan; 8) schedule monthly strategy meetings with established methods of reporting progress; and 9) set annual review dates for new assessments and an annual plan review.
Common mistakes in the implementation phase include no ownership (from managerial staff and/or employees), a lack of reliable communication, a plan that is non-specific and insubstantial, or a plan that is overly thorough and involves too many tasks. Companies often set forth a plan and implement it without a clear manner of tracking its progress. In these cases, the organization will meet to address the progress of the implementation only annually, which leads to passivity. Also, employees who are not held accountable for their role in the implementation can lead to a faltering plan, as can an employee who is ready to make positive changes but lacks the authority to do so. The implementation phase requires close monitoring; the organization that does not watch itself closely will miss cues that indicate necessary modifications.