Building an annual B2B marketing plan is no simple task. The plan must provide a strategy to transform business objectives into marketing priorities and goals, while outlining how to execute and reach those goals. According to SiriusDecisions, Inc., this tends to result in the creation of a plan that falls into one of two categories-- overly complex plans that are hard to understand and therefore not actionable, or overly agile plans that create a lot of activity, but not enough business impact.
To help B2B marketers create an actionable, digestible strategic marketing plan, SiriusDecisions, Inc. created “The Marketing-Plan-on-a-Page Template.” In this post, we’ll go over the key takeaways in the template and how you can apply them to improve the marketing planning strategy at your organization.
There are six components to developing a complete marketing plan-- business objectives, marketing priorities, marketing goals, marketing strategy, key actions, and dependencies and risks.
1. Business Objectives
Simply put, business objectives are the quantifiable targets that the company wants to hit in the coming year. For example, the goal may be to double revenue by the next fiscal year, or to maintain growth in the Mid-Market segment while expanding to Enterprise and achieving 15% growth.
These objectives relate to the company as a whole and are targets that marketing must keep in mind during all stages of planning and execution. If Marketing actions are not aligned to business objectives, then the team creates a lot of activity, with minimal impact.
2. Marketing Priorities
Once the business objectives are established, Marketing has to decide where and how it can make an impact. In this section of planning, the marketing leadership team will outline which efforts to prioritize and which it cannot support.
The team must be in tune with its capabilities and not take on more than it can reliably handle. If too many projects are taken on at once, resources will spread too thin and leave the team unable to make a measurable impact on any of the business objectives.
3. Marketing Goals
Marketing goals are an expansion of marketing priorities that quantifiably define what marketing will do to support the greater business objectives. Goal Metrics, that should connect to business targets, will fall into four categories: Impact, Output, Activity and Readiness. Impact is the effect on business goals, output is the result of actions, activity is the number of actions taken, and readiness is how prepared the team is to perform.
4. Marketing Strategy
Marketing strategy is the approach and continued efforts the marketing team will take to achieve its goals. The strategy revolves around how the team is planning to hit its goals, while keeping marketing priorities in mind and remaining aligned to the business objectives. Sirius Decisions, Inc., defines six strategic routes marketers can take to hit their goals. Innovate, grow, retain, harvest, pause, and exit; ranging on a scale from high, to low, risk and investment.
Strategy is an important part of the marketing planning process that often gets overlooked by marketers who are eager to take action. However, actions without strategy creates an atmosphere where marketers are all working independently, segmented from each other and the greater business objectives.
5. Key Actions
Key actions refers to the specific efforts marketers will take to execute on strategy. However, it cannot simply be a list of tactics, it must provide details on how each execution will impact the greater business objectives.
Additionally, marketing efforts from the past may no longer benefit the new strategy so in this section of planning, marketers must decide which actions to stop doing, which actions to expand on, and which new actions it should add to the plan.
6. Dependencies and Risks
Dependencies and risks are a part of every marketing plan. However, outlining potential risks from the start allows marketers to better plan and adapt to changes or shortcomings that could happen throughout the year.
In every marketing planning strategy, dependencies and risks must be taken into account.
Obviously, marketing actions depend on receiving the funding to execute, so budget tends to be the biggest dependency, but there are many other risks and dependencies that need to be acknowledged within this section of planning.
Marketing planning can be complicated, but the SiriusDecisions, Inc. “Marketing-Plan-on-a-Page Template” is a great launch point for marketers to create a concise, yet actionable plan that aligns to business objectives and metrics.
Aligning all marketing efforts to business objectives, means that the entire organization is on the same page, optimizing for the same metrics and goals.
To download the full “Marketing Plan-on-a-Page Template” from SiriusDecisions,Inc. click the banner below.