A marketing plan with visibility (from multiple points of view) is one that’s designed to meet often complex corporate goals tied to specific strategies for growth. And while this might sound fairly obvious, a lot of companies aren’t hitting the mark when it comes to visibility in their marketing plans.
Visibility is a big deal, and your marketing plan depends on it. A viable plan needs to include KPIs that can measure the effectiveness of its campaigns, programs and tactics. Without this, you're unable to track progress and use the findings to create a more viable and effective upcoming plan.
It means that when a marketing plan doesn’t provide visibility through its KPIs, things quickly turn into a game of guesswork, as there’s no way of telling what’s working and what’s not during its execution. When this happens, the bottom line is that resources, time and opportunities are wasted - and, ultimately, goals aren’t effectively met.
Visibility creates a snowball effect that ultimately leads to ineffective plans. Before we address the question of how you go about changing this, it’s first important to explore further why visibility is a vital component of any marketing plan.
Segmentation, Segmentation, Segmentation
The answer to this is segmentation. It’s what you need to have an effective and functioning marketing plan; segments break your plan up and align it to your goals and strategy. To do this well, you need to be able to calculate metrics and understand performance at the segment level or even the intersection of two segments, like North American CFOs (geography and persona).
Segmentation brings visibility into the viability and alignment of your plans. Visibility gives you greater access into key performance metrics and how they differ across segments. Ultimately, with these key metrics, it becomes easier to understand performance throughout the year. Having greater insight into your marketing plans means that key goals become much more obtainable.
We know what happens when marketing plans don’t have enough visibility, so what causes all of this? While there could be many causes, I’m going to focus on two that we see a lot: ineffective planning tools and an inability to properly utilize the reverse waterfall methodology.
Ineffective Planning Tools: There are a lot of different tools used for marketing plans out there. In fact, a recent study from SiriusDecisions found that fewer than one in five organizations is communicating plans directly from within business applications. This means that plans today are static. If they were dynamic, they would be communicated dynamically, as well. Spreadsheets remain the most common planning tool, and they have their limitations. Complex spreadsheets average one error in content or formula for every one hundred cells, according to Forbes. How many cells are in your latest plan?
Source: 2019 SiriusDecisions Marketing Planning Maturity Study
When key information is scattered across different spreadsheets and planning tools, access to important information becomes incredibly difficult to obtain - information that could be critical to balancing the plan, information regarding prior period performance and information critical to changing market conditions.
The Reverse Waterfall: Most marketers are familiar with some version of the demand waterfall with its various stages and velocities. The reverse waterfall does exactly the same thing but in reverse. It leverages conversion rates to determine how much demand must be created to hit a company’s revenue targets.
Reverse waterfall calculations enable you to set realistic top-of-funnel goals and create marketing plans with more accurate and rigorous forecasting that is based on data modeling instead of instinct.
We believe that plans built in a planning application can stand up to the rigorous scrutiny they inevitably undergo. We further believe that plans that are not built on the foundation of a reasonably accurate revenue model (reverse waterfall) will be doomed to fall short of expectations.
Communicating the plan via a business application invites greater scrutiny from other departments, enabling them to become part of the planning process while breaking down silos and barriers that exist today.
Are you ready to get other departments closely aligned to your marketing plan? Hive9 gives you one view of all marketing plans and budgets. Request a demo and see the changes to your marketing plan.