A plan that starts with your mission, vision, values, goals, strengths, weaknesses, marketing strategy, budget and sales projections can take weeks, if not months, to prepare. Such a plan, however, is useless without a plan to implement it.

An effective implementation plan defines each category of activity (ex., your website), specific actions that need to occur inside that category (ex., add white paper for download in exchange for visitors’ names and contact info), a coordinating date due (ex., quarterly) and the individual responsible for implementation (ex., Rex, website manager). Without this accountability, implementation of your plan will be sporadic and ill-defined. In other words, a marketing plan amounts to little without accompanying marching orders.

Entrepreneurs have long attributed their success to having a better product or service. But today, in a fast-moving and network-driven world, superior execution is what delivers success. Financial advisors are great at adopting many new marketing ideas. Where they sometimes struggle is in finishing and fully carrying out these ideas. The best marketing strategy is the one you deploy in its entirety.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to www.redzonemarketing.com