The Milestones in Marketing Plans
When you insert milestones into your marketing plan, you can track your progress toward your goals. Milestones are part of the plan implementation, and you set them to indicate when a particular task is complete. Identify the task, the start date and the scheduled completion date. The milestone is the event or characteristic that signifies that the task in question is finished. Depending on whether you reach the milestone by the completion date, you can tell whether your plan is on schedule.
Setting milestones in the market research section of your marketing plan tells you when you have enough data to move on to the next activities and whether your research is proceeding as planned. You can place milestones at the end of key research tasks, such as market surveys to determine your target market, and you need one milestone at the end of your research activities.
Your public relations can run in parallel to your other marketing plan tasks, but you have to finish key activities before starting sales under the new marketing plan. Identify which public relations work introduces your product or the new product features, and place a milestone at the end of each such task. Product introduction promotions should be finished before the product goes on sale. Monitor these milestones to make sure they are on schedule.
Your website has to be ready when sales under your marketing plan start. Key milestones are content development, website coding and taking the website live. You can tie these three milestones to approval of the Web content, accessibility of the website on an internal server and your ability to access the website on the public Internet by posing as a customer.
Advertising continues as you implement your marketing plan, but you may need to get specific ads out to help planned initial sales. Set milestones for those key ads, and tie them to approval of each ad and to its release to the public media. The two-stage milestones allow you to speed up work if approval is late.
A marketing plan provides for sales from an initial introductory push due to extra promotion or an introductory discount. Placing a milestone to track such sales gives you an early indication of the success of your overall plan. Your marketing plan might forecast 1,000 units sold after the first week. Set your milestone at 1,000 units sold, and monitor sales to see when you achieve it.
The objective of your marketing plan is to reach the targeted sales volume. Setting a sales milestone gives you feedback on the overall performance of your plan. If your plan predicts sales of 5,000 units per month, place a milestone at 15,000 units. Whether you reach your milestone before or after three months is a good measure of the success of your marketing plan.