Digital Marketing Plans Never Work – Or do They?

Posted on Apr 15, 2020 |

I must confess that I’ve lost count of all the marketing plans I’ve created. I know this about everyone though. None of them have ever been fully carried out.


Why’s That?

Well, the landscape changes every day. People will have their input and of course the stats will tell you that it’s not going well so you change tack.


30,000 Email Subscribers

I lied. Some plans do get completed. The small ones with a defined outcome.

Growing an email list using print and Facebook ads. That was a complete plan (tactic). 30,000 email addresses added in eighteen months.

But big plans for a whole business can’t be completed. But you still have to plan.

Sounds contradictory doesn’t it?

You need to know where you are going; you need to know what’s likely to happen on the journey.  But the landscape is going to change.

If you have the plan. You has some structure. You have a starting point and you have the benchmark.  You can start measuring.


Business Benchmarks

One of the best things I learned about digital marketing was to measure everything. Especially where am I now?

You can get close to a plan that you can carry out but what’s the point when the data tells you it’s not working?

DIgital Marketing Tools 2

Plan and Define Shorter Tactical Plans

I use the SOSTAC plan model.

I combine this with SMART Goals.

I take a long term plan with a pinch of salt but I steer everything online with short tactical plans.


This is a planning model that I love to use, there are other components, honed over the years but this is the foundation of everything I do with a client.


  • Situation
  • Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Actions
  • Control



  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

Digital Marketing Tools

Read up & Realism

Do read up on these models, there are some great resources about them out there. What I’m going to do is write you some short notes on the reality of them.


Pausing and looking at the SITUATION. Do it. Do it EVERY WEEK. I mean take your time and judge if you want to pursue the strategy.


This should be very specific. You should have numbers. You should have a weekly dashboard where you record your targets and the percentage of target reached.


This is the overview. The grand plan. How are we going to get there? ‘We’re going to build an authority website for our market; the place to influence the influencers’.

Spend time on this aspect. Is it different from the competition? If you decide others are doing the same but not so well, where will you make the difference?


This is where you make the difference. Remember the example above, 30,000 email subscribers to an email list in eighteen months?

That worked as it was focused and relevant to the business. In fact if you are not making your email list a priority then nine times out of ten you are missing out. Why? The direct relationship and no algorithms getting in your marketing way.


O yes! Gotta have actions. Here CONTROL rears it’s important head. Who carries out the actions, by when and for how much?

O’ and what is the likely return for each action? Do this in terms of revenue. This action is likely to make £xxxx that one £xxx. But if it is not making the revenue why have it as an action?

Well, it can also be a priority action because it is part of the long-term plan, the strategy eg ‘influence the influencers’.


The people, the budget and the reporting, the measures and of course the revenue, the Profit & Loss, the Return on Investment and more.

DIgital Marketing Tools 2


Speaks for itself. Always good to run the action to access if it will work. Is it RELEVANT to the business? More importantly, is it ATTAINABLE in the time frame (TIME-BASED)?


Treat all models with respect and learn by doing them a lot. THEN make them your own by writing up what you added, what you took away.


Make your own plan for your own business and always be challenging your plan.


Jim Signature


About Conversion Detectives

Conversion Detectives is a full service digital marketing agency in Hertfordshire.

We find the best quality traffic for your website and convert more of that traffic into sales or sales leads.


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Understanding Digital Marketing10 emails, 10 suggestions & 10 actions