Building the annual marketing plan is never easy. Creating the marketing strategy with help of marketing attribution can make it easier. Taking the business goals and objectives and formulating a marketing strategy how to reach those should be taken into account. Of course in the online world with fast moving new ad-formats and platforms its becoming increasingly difficult.
It’s easy to either make the plan too complex and not actionable or too rigid so it doesn’t allow for learnings during the year. This depends of course on the industry and pace of change. How fast are channels changing, formats changing and goals changing? These are factors that affect how much flexibility you should leave in the budget allocations and the marketing plan.
1. Business Objectives
Essentially, the strategy should start from the goals. Which are the goals and KPI’s the company wants to hit in the coming year. For example the goals might be to double revenue, or increase profits by 30%.
Less tangible goals could be for example:
- To increase transparency in the spend and the marketing budget.
- To gather more data for enable learning and future optimisations
Marketing goals have to be tied to the wider business objectives and strategy. If they are not aligned they will create a lot of different actions that might or might not help the business.
2. Marketing Priorities
After the business objectives are established the marketing team has to prioritise. Marketing team has to decide and estimate where they can have an impact.
Once it has on a high level been decided where marketing can have an impact then prioritisation has to be done. Which efforts will have the highest impact for the least amount of effort or investment.
The marketing team needs to be realistic about the capabilities. If it takes on too much there is a risk that no goals will be achieved as the efforts are spread too much.
3. Marketing Goals
The goals for the marketing are a bit more tactical goals and quantifiable priorities that define what marketing will do to support the wider business objectives. There is mostly four different categories of the the goal metrics: Impact, Output, Activity and Readiness. Impact is how much it affects the business goals. Output is the result of actions, activity is the amount of activity and readiness is how ready the marketing team is to perform.
4. Marketing Strategy
The strategy covers the channels to be used. How will prospective clients be reached and how will they convert into customers. Wikipedia has the marketing strategies quite well covered: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_strategy
To be able to formulate a good and realistic marketing strategy in-depth understanding of the customer journeys are needed.
Which channels are most cost effective in the different stages in the funnel. This is where marketing strategy and attribution support each other nicely. Especially multitouch attribution that takes into account all touch-points so you can see where the marketing strategy is working best.
5. Key Actions
What are the actions to reach the goals? Which marketing channels will be used? This has to laid out in the marketing plan. Both in terms of resources and marketing investments.
How often will the plan be adjusted? If its fast moving business and the marketing team is working fast it can be adjusted often whereas others mostly TV marketing plans can be adjusted only in slower cycles.
Most of our clients work on a weekly or bi-weekly optimisation cycle.
Starting from the business objectives, taking into account the capabilities and forming the marketing goals usually leads to the best results. In todays world when marketing is becoming more technical every day many times also some new capabilities might be needed.