Traditional marketing plans often allow no room for change or necessary shifts. To make matters worse, proving ROI is often challenging and elusive. Increasingly though, this static, somewhat antiquated approach is becoming a thing of the past.
On this flip side however, simply relying on agile, iterative planning — without the benefit of a longer-term vision — risks longer term instability.
Success in marketing today involves achieving the best balance between long term planning and strategic vision, and agile interactive planning and execution.
But how best to achieve this balance. A new ebook for marketers called “Achieve Marketing Balance with a Solid Plan” describes five guidelines marketers should follow.
Organisational strategies can’t succeed in isolation and marketing campaigns need to be closely aligned. If this isn’t done, the result is ad-hoc efforts that create internal chaos. Additionally, it’s also important for marketing to align with the rest of the business around growing revenue and improving the customer experience.
The first step is to determine how aligned marketing is to strategy. Ask yourself these three questions;
• Am I creating campaigns that will benefit our bottom line?
• Are my department’s efforts aligned with the bigger organisation?
• Does my current project intersect with my company’s strategic plan?
Unless the answer is yes in each instance, you may have a problem.
2. Create True visibility
Develop a centralised, fully accessible marketing calendar to provide visibility into marketing plans that are relevant to specific teams and individuals. This is an essential first step to productive planning. This also lets everyone see up coming events and major marketing themes, as well as sales patterns and goals. By busting down silos you help everyone make better well-informed decisions about next-best plans.
3. Plan Upfront
At the start of the planning process, marketers need to clearly define long and short-term strategies, marketing objectives, and KPIs.
By working within these pre-defined parameters every employee is empowered to make relevant, real-time adjustments without having to navigate extra layers of approval.
4. Go long and go short
Forward-thinking CMOs understand the necessity of short and long term business and marketing plans. Those who incorporate both into the strategic planning mindset will ultimately drive better outcomes.
5. Reserve some capacity.
In their 2016 Magic Quadrant, industry analysts Gartner noted, ”Companies are finding they need to better manage marketing resources, partly due to the growing complexity of their marketing organisations and partly to promote greater agility across the marketing mix.” No plan entirely survives the first contact with the real world and change is inevitable. So be sure to keep some capacity to adjust when circumstances shift quickly, or a new opportunity presents itself.
Long term planning and agility may seem contradictory ideas but they actually support and balance one another. Download “Achieve Marketing Balance with a Solid Plan” today.
For further reading you can also download The Five Marketing Essentials ebook.
About the Authors
Sean Campbell is a solutions consultant for Aprimo. He has worked with leading brands in the US, Europe, and APAC helping them to transform their marketing operations. Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which Aprimo is a Corporate Member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.