How do you approach marketing planning each year? We asked the attendees of our recent webinar on data-driven marketing planning that question and 90% said they make their plan each year by starting with last year’s plan and making edits.
That’s the easiest way to go about it, but what if last year’s marketing plan wasn’t full optimized? Sticking with the familiar because it’s easy could mean missing the opportunity for marketing planning that provides significantly better results.
The webinar was packed full of actionable insights on how to more effectively approach marketing planning this year. You should watch the whole thing to get the full serving of education but, as a teaser, we’ve provided some of the highlights below.
Data-Driven Marketing Planning Emphasizes Alignment
In the webinar, Jeff Clark, Research Director at Sirius Decisions, explains that companies that make a point of establishing clear alignment between departments increase revenue by an average of 36%. When everyone in a company figures out how to work together toward the same goals, the results are consistently robust.
It’s hard to pull off though, especially in larger organizations. To manage it, you’ll want to make alignment a priority in the planning stage. Both Jeff and our CMO Munira Fareed touched on the importance of alignment in their presentations. In the early stages of marketing planning, you’ll want to prioritize two forms of alignment in particular:
- Ensure sure your marketing plan is aligned with your goals.
- Ensure sure your marketing planning emphasizes alignment with other departments.
If last year’s plan didn’t do either of those things, then it’s time to take a different approach.
Create a Single-Page Marketing Plan
Jeff doesn’t just talk in the abstract about what makes for good marketing planning. Over the course of the webinar, he provides actionable information to help you walk away ready to create a single-page marketing plan that gets your organization started on the path to data-driven marketing.
The first step is gathering all the information you need to make sure your plan is realistic, relevant, and connected to the goals of your company. That requires collecting and analyzing information in three main areas:
- Targets – Your marketing goals should be based on the larger goals of the company. Make sure you know the targets your C-suite have determined so you can make sure your marketing planning is aligned with what’s best for the company.
- Environment – You’re not working in a vacuum. Take time to analyze both your internal and external environment. More specifically, review all the data you have on past results, research the larger market you’re in, and survey the technology available to you and your competitors.
- Available resources – Now look to what you already have. You can only accomplish what’s manageable with the resources available, including your budget, your staff, and your technology.
What To Include In Your Plan
Your one-page marketing plan should include each of the following categories.
- Business objectives – What do you want to achieve? Clarify and define your overall business objectives.
- Marketing priorities – Your ambitions may be large, but your resources are limited. Determine what aspects of your plan are the most important to focus on.
- Marketing goals – Put your objectives into specific terms. Decide what you want, how to measure it, and set quantifiable targets based on that.
- Marketing strategy – Define the specific approach you’ll take to achieve your goals.
- Key actions – How will you execute the strategy you’ve created? Figure out which actions you’ve been taking that you should continue doing, which you should drop, which you should change, and what new tactics to add.
- Dependencies and risks – Every marketing agency has limitations. Your budget will almost certainly fall in this category, but so will things like staff alignment issues or technology needs that aren’t yet met.
Not sure how all that can fit on one page? Jeff does it. To see an example of what a one-page marketing plan looks like, you’ll have to watch the full webinar.
Keep Your Marketing Data-Driven
When you talk about marketing planning, most marketers immediately start talking about budget. Budgeting, however, is only one part of marketing planning. You should pay attention to the bigger picture that includes budgeting, but by zooming out to take a wider view, you can stretch your budget even further.
In her portion of the webinar, Munira described seeing businesses recapture 20% of their marketing budget with data-driven marketing planning. They recoup budget in two key ways:
- Increasing efficiency in order to reduce the amount of work they do.
- Improving the impact of marketing by investing specifically in what’s working.
Munira shared some of the main steps data-driven marketers take that make a difference:
- They focus on qualified leads – MQLs, SALs, and SQLs – rather than inquiries.
- They pay attention to the marketing journey leads are actually on and how it varies based on different factors like geographic region, business type, or persona.
- They make marketing decisions based on past results.
- They do all of that by tying together their marketing plan with their budget, reporting, and analytics.
By seeing all the most important parts of their marketing plan in one view, they’re able to connect the dots and make sure everything’s properly aligned.
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That’s just a taste of everything that was covered in the webinar. If you’re intrigued (and you should be!), go ahead and watch the whole thing already.