What Are You Forgetting in Your Marketing Plans?

Written by: Betsy Lillian on 12/2/20 10:12 AM
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Close up image of laptop and human hands typing on keyboardIf your marketing plans contain, well, just marketing plans, you might want to consider casting a wider net. Unfortunately, you may be missing other key information that could impact sales and the overall performance of your organization.

Instead of creating siloed plans that pertain to only marketing, consider the bigger picture of where your department and the organization as a whole are looking to go.

By involving other departments and, in turn, other metrics, you can gain a better understanding of the direction marketing itself needs to go.

Collaboration
When you set out to build your marketing plan, keep in mind that successful marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

Everyone understands the importance of sales and marketing alignment: When these two teams swap knowledge, they’re both able to better understand prospects and come up with carefully crafted plans to enable success. This alignment extends to specific go-to-market plans for strategic accounts within your account-based marketing segments.

Likewise, be apprised of your product team’s plans and their contributions to messaging. Are they rolling out updates on a regular basis? Introducing new offerings? That information should be reflected across your marketing tactics: e.g., events, advertising, webinars, press releases or social media messaging to promote these updates.

In addition, considering that your customer success team should know your customers better than anyone else in the organization, integrate their knowledge into your marketing plans. After all, many consider customers to be marketing’s most important leads. If you offer a subscription service, for example, you want to emphasize renewal efforts; if you offer a single purchase model, you want your customers to upgrade, expand or simply purchase multiple offerings. Consider all of this in your branding and communications—another vital component of your marketing plans.

The bottom line is that your marketing plans should encompass everything you’ll be focusing on: from branding and awareness to demand generation, pipeline acceleration, sales enablement and customer marketing—across all applicable delivery mechanisms, like events, digital advertising, social media and direct mail. Your plans should cover all of your offerings, markets, buying personas and geographical commitments, as well.

The start of planning
As prescribed by Forrester SiriusDecisions’ Marketing-Plan-on-a-Page, when you begin your marketing planning process and collaborate across your organization, focus on gathering information covering three key areas:

  1. Targets: Determine what exactly are the respective goals of marketing, sales, product and the overall company. If your sales teams have goals over certain time periods in specific geographies, for example, make sure you reflect this information down to the most granular level in your plans.

  2. Environment: The Marketing-Plan-on-a-Page concept suggests looking at the current state of your organization at both an internal and external level: e.g., prospect data, technology and industry trends, product roadmaps, past performance—the list goes on and on. Especially in 2020’s environment of unexpected changes, marketing leaders need to be sure they’re clearly able to see what’s working, what’s not working and what’s on the horizon.

  3. Resources: Lastly, Forrester SiriusDecisions recommends marketing leaders look at what they have—and what they need to get—in order to make success happen. This includes marketing technology, staff skillsets, partnerships and, crucially, budgets. When building their plans, marketers must always be aware of where they stand on their actual spend, enabling them to quickly identify any available buckets of money that might be put to good use.

Collecting all of this info isn’t the final step in marketing planning, of course. Forrester SiriusDecisions warns marketing leaders that it is merely just the “prelude to plan development.”

The plan itself
In turn, once you’ve gathered all this information, it’s time to see what it looks like across your marketing plan. Here’s a checklist to see if you’re missing anything:

Time: Know what you’re doing, and when, down to yearly, quarterly, weekly and daily levels.

Attributes: See exactly who is in charge of each of your plans.

Campaigns: Know the objectives (e.g., new logo growth) of each of your campaigns, as well as how they align to strategy (e.g., account-based). Be able to see who exactly is in charge of each of your campaigns, too.

Programs: Down at this level, you should be able to know the owner and type of program (e.g., channels enablement) in your plan.

Tactics: This is where granularity is, again, key. For large, complex marketing organizations in particular, don’t hesitate to include any of these metrics in your pursuit of a successful marketing plan:

  1. Audience: Who’s buying?
  2. Brand: Which of your products are you focusing on?
  3. Buyer’s journey: Are your prospects in the awareness, consideration or decision stage?
  4. Geography: To which locations are you selling?
  5. Vertical: To which segments are you selling?
  6. Owner: Who’s in charge of each tactic?
  7. Type: What kind of tactic are you working on (e.g., a social media display or outbound telemarketing project)?
  8. Vendor: Are you working with external partners to launch your tactics?
  9. Status: How’s it going? Is your tactic still in progress?

Equipped with all of this information in your marketing plan, your teams will be able to better collaborate on your shared goals and spending decisions. With increased visibility into what’s happening, you’ll be able to eliminate any duplicative programs, better enable sales and align your activities with your top-level targets.

And, as your organization grows and keeps changing—especially in this day and age—transform your marketing plans into a living guide with shifting targets that adapt to the changes.

Hive9 can help
Once you’ve taken all of the above considerations into account, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. If the complexity of your situation is such that the thought of managing your plans in a spreadsheet is creating stress in your life, consider implementing a collaborative, cloud-based marketing performance management solution like Hive9.

Go here to explore the possibilities through a personalized demo!

Topics: Marketing Planning, Effective Planning, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Personalization, marketing strategy

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