Build a Foundation of Planning

Written by: Patrick Kilgore on 1/16/17 3:36 PM

Planning Pyramid.png

As marketers, a big part of the job is “doing” – e.g. coming up with creative ideas, creating content, and developing marketing campaigns. When you spend your days doing, you feel productive. You feel like you’re accomplishing something. And you are, but getting things done shouldn’t be all that your job’s about.

What if all the actions you’re taking aren’t the right ones to drive planned outcomes? You could be spinning your wheels, without helping your company increase revenue – which is ultimately the only reason for the business to keep providing your department with resource.

Your marketing team is a workhorse. You can trust that program execution will go smoothly. A foundation of planning, however, is key to ensure you make the most of this effort.

Connect Actions to Outcomes

Marketing shouldn’t just be about good ideas, it should be about the realization of strategy. If you’re focused on execution without considering the layers in between (planning, budgeting, and performance) how can you determine if what you’re doing is paying off?

Marketing needs to be able to draw a clear line between front line execution and top level strategy. In simplest terms, that’s why we created Hive9.

Connecting the dots isn’t easy to do, but marketing planning technology can empower marketers to make those connections more clearly. With a comprehensive marketing dashboard, you can see both how your marketing campaigns tie back to your budget spend and how the results relate to the goals you’ve set.

You’ll gain an idea of which tactics, activities, and campaigns perform the best, so you can refine existing plans for better results over time.

Build a Foundation of Planning

To ensure your actions are based on strategy, you need to start by building four layers of alignment between them:

Good marketing goals should be both clearly defined and reasonably within reach. You want to work out both high-level goals that the whole marketing department aspires to, and smaller, more specific goals that each team and employee can focus on. And your goals should all ultimately tie back to the main thing your company, and your c-Suite in particular, care about: revenue.

While plans may stem from tried and true approaches you’ve taken in the past, it’s important that they can also be adapted based on data-driven insights. Build plans to directly satisfy the goals you’ve established internally. Although common practice, planning should be viewed as an on-going rather than incremental activity. If a static plan is established at the beginning of a period and results only reported at the end, the opportunities iterate and improve are lost.

While some programs require only effort – cost in the form of headcount – most have direct spend associated with them. It’s important that your plan include where funds are allocated per campaign and tactic. By doing so, you’ll create another layer of intelligence to report on for ROI purposes. Success can be gauged not just by campaign, but by the individual elements that comprise them.

Setting key performance indicators helps determine the effectiveness of marketing’s execution. By establishing a baseline, you can understand what programs are performing above and below expectation. This insight allows you to shift your marketing mix away from non-performing programs or to another approach altogether. Since Hive9 supplies real-time results, no time is wasted in reporting cycles. Performance data is immediately available to drive improved decision making.

By connecting each part of the performance marketing pyramid, you’ll ensure cycles are devoted exclusively to the achievement of sanctioned goals. With quick iteration on programs, you can guarantee that regardless of budget your marketing programs are running at peak performance.

Topics: Marketing Planning, Hive9