Archive for 2021

Strategic Planning Doesn’t Equal a Marketing Plan

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I'm a huge fan of planning and planning systems. We currently use the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) for our strategic planning. We were a Scaling Up shop for a decade before we switched to EOS. I mentor and work with lots of Startups that use the Lean Canvas Model. Several clients work with other systems. As an Entrepreneur and Owner, I love all of this. I think having clearly defined goals, metrics and accountability is critical to running a business. As a Branding Expert and Marketer, I'm here to let you know that this strategic planning does not even come close to providing you with what you need to begin on a marketing plan (despite what your well-intentioned coach might be telling you).

What most strategic planning systems provide in terms of marketing:

  • Revenue and profitability targets
  • Product/service-specific shifts and goals
  • Key audience(s) or customer definition
  • Differentiators
  • Vision/Mission/Values

What a strategic plan is lacking when it comes to marketing:

  • Specific strategies and tactics to reach key audiences
  • Marketing/editorial calendar
  • Frequency recommendations
  • Advertising budgets
  • Marketing metrics (as leading indicators to revenue)

Additional things your marketing plan needs to include:

  • Evaluation of whether the budget will “get you there” or if your targets are even realistic
  • Consideration of industry benchmarks
  • Complex marketing programs require tools and technology
  • An implementation plan for how and when marketing passes off to sales (and probably more technology)
  • Regular review and adjustment

The strategic planning you do for your business every year should definitely be providing the high-level guidance needed to begin a marketing plan, but the marketing planning process can not begin in earnest until after that marketing strategy is completed and agreed upon by the leadership team.

If you don't have a formal marketing plan and would like help to jumpstart the effort for 2022, we have a workshop coming up on January 6, 2022. For more information and to register, visit our newsroom.

I have also written about key stakeholders who should be included in the marketing planning process. It's a wacky Halloween-themed blog.

Marketing Plan Horror Stories

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I have heard a ton of marketing plan horror stories in my 25+ years in this industry.

After all, what could possibly go wrong when you try to take historical information from multiple disparate systems? Combine that with industry research and the company's forward-looking goals. Then, build that into a tactical plan using all the latest-greatest marketing platforms and methods. Don't forget to establish a solid budget and tie your spending to predictable results. Of course, you will also need to collect feedback from both the sales team on the front end, and the customer service or implementation teams on the back end, to keep the plan continually evolving. Regular reporting and updates will be required to communicate results and roadblocks. Again, what could go wrong?

These horror stories range from mortifying to just plain silly, but across the board, they can be avoided by including key stakeholders in the planning process. Below you will find a list of people you should bring to the table while developing your marketing plan, along with what they bring to the table and what they will take away.

The horrors of excluding key stakeholders from your marketing planning meeting infographic

If you need help with a strategic marketing plan for your small or mid-size company, please contact us. We develop dozens of marketing plans every year across a variety of industries and also see them through to execution. We can help >>

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