Kick the 360 Marketing Plan to the Curb

By Steve Marzio

360One of the most overused terms in marketing conference rooms and on title slides of agency presentations is to have a “360 Marketing Plan.”  Wow that sounds good doesn’t it?  The thought that your target consumer might see your TV spot while drinking coffee and watching her morning talk show then hear your spot radio while schlepping the kids to daycare, soon passing a billboard showcasing a supersized image of your product as she enters the grocery store to see your product on the front endcap while standing on a colorful floor decal of your brand certainly makes for a powerful powerpoint presentation!


The 360 Marketing Plan is a dangerous trap.  As marketers, we love the sizzle don’t we?  Be honest with yourself….its why you’re in marketing isn’t it?  You recall that business school course where you first learned about what a 360 marketing plan even was.  Surely this makes sense, my professor (who has a PHD!) taught it to me.  There are so many ways these days to reach your customer, why not dabble a little in all of them?  In this way, we are sure to reach our target…right?  Hereby lies the trap.  What looks great in powerpoint, using your budgets, doesn’t cause even the smallest ripple in the ocean of clutter that exists in the marketplace….especially when you are a challenger/up-and-coming brand.

thumbnail.aspxThe powerpoint presentation can look dreadfully similar on the number of marketing communication vehicles you can use whether you are on a $5M Marcom plan or a $50 Marcom plan.  The difference is in an excel chart on the last page that shows the budget numbers by line item.  This chart often gets lost in the sizzle of the 360 marketing plan (which were the first 30 slides of the presentation).

Put simply, unless you are the Geicos or Capital Ones of the world that have MARCOM budgets that dwarf the size of most companies’ total revenues and the GDP of some small countries, pick a…one…uno…a SINGLE communication vehicle that meets these criteria listed below to deliver maximum impact.


  1. Makes Sense Strategically – (long vs. short story to tell? Reach vs. Frequency goals? Close to a Retail Sale? Etc…)
  2. Reaches Your Target Audience – (obvious you want to shout where your target customers can hear you)
  3. Penetrates Enough to Be Heard – (your budget should be able to support a high level of reach/frequency over time)


To quote a previous article of mine on….OWN SOMETHING.  As much as $10M may seem like a lot on paper, but in the marketplace, this is hardly enough to support a 360 marketing effort.  Actually, let me rephrase.  You could certainly execute activities on a 360 marketing plan, but you will fail to break through the clutter in any one single vehicle.  Better to go narrow and deep to break through than to go broad and shallow.

Don’t be ineffective in reaching your target 5 times on the way to the grocery store.  Be effective in reaching her hundreds of times over several weeks/months during just one of her daily activities.  You will see consumers beginning to pull your product.  Save your 360 grandiose plans for a later time.

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One Response so far.

  1. […] We’re not fans of 360 marketing plans here at Retail Leverage – partly because the term is overused, and partly because the terminology leads you to believe that your plan is incomplete if you don’t cover all your bases, spreading your dollars around.  For most of us, you have to choose – have a crappy 360 plan, or focus your dollars to own something. […]

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