A solid marketing plan is the backbone of every marketing strategy.
A solid marketing plan is the backbone of every marketing strategy – the roadmap that ensures ideas are put into practice to achieve the desired goals. While few would doubt its importance, building an actionable marketing plan that your team follows and feels accountable for is easier said than done. Teams often get distracted by putting out the fire of the moment and they lose track of the longer-term commitments that truly impact growth. After taking many companies through the marketing planning process, we’ve identified these four steps to building an effective marketing plan:
Step 1 – Create ownership of the plan by involving the key decision makers in the planning process. It is not just the marketing team whose perspective matters. Sales must have a seat at the table along with the business leadership. Start by ensuring that all are aligned around the business goals and seek input on expectations and strategies they are ready to commit to. By getting buy-in from the very beginning, you are more likely to secure the needed resources and get support throughout the implementation phase.
Step 2 – Invest in a facilitated session to lay the foundation of the plan. We’ve all been in meetings where only one or two people speak the entire time while the rest don’t utter a word. Or, where the same topic, account or other lingering issue take a disproportionate amount of time and derail the conversation. Don’t let personality dynamics become a roadblock. A skilled facilitator can ask tough questions, turn simmering conflicts into productive intellectual friction and keep the discussion on track.
Step 3 – Prioritize. No company can invest equal time and resources into every possible marketing strategy, no matter how good they sound. Growth driver planning is a framework that provides focus and discipline. You select the areas of highest growth potential and allocate the needed resources to maximize your ability to deliver. A growth driver may be a marketing vertical, a product or a specific audience where the demand is the highest and your value prop most appealing. Choose 1 – 3 growth drivers, depending on your company’s size and invest the bulk of your marketing resources and budget in strategies and tactics related to these growth drivers. Leverage the facilitated session to prioritize growth drivers, strategies and tactics. The facilitator can help your team narrow down options and even help you put options up for vote to leave no room for second-guessing.
Step 4 – Set success metrics and assign responsibility. Once you have the plan framework in place, it’s important to agree on success metrics and KPIs and assign ownership. No plan can succeed without clear accountability and a timeline. A good plan should include a high-level roadmap with clearly identified priorities that keeps everyone on track. More detailed implementation plans aligned with each growth driver can be delegated to specific teams.
Finally, revisit the plan every month to ensure you are staying the course, measure your performance and make adjustments as needed. If you need help developing your marketing plan, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.