Apply a new mindset to B2B marketing planning
Strategy matters, but squeezing time for big thinking in between meetings, email and day-to-day project management can be a challenge for even the most dedicated B2B marketer. Fortunately, your plan doesn’t need to be arduous or time-consuming to be effective.
In fact, producing numerous strategy briefs throughout the year, one for each significant initiative, can be more impactful and easier to accomplish than toiling over an all-inclusive annual plan.
Drafting your 30-minute plan
A better way borrows from Agile, the methodology common in technology companies. Instead of exhausting, all encompassing sessions, adopt smaller planning windows that more easily fit your schedule.
For each initiative, set aside a half-hour window to address these four essentials of marketing strategy. If any one is difficult to complete, review your roadblocks and consider whether the program needs to be reworked or eliminated altogether.
1. Define your approach
Start by describing what you want to do. Limit yourself to two or three paragraphs and focus on specifics such as recommended media for the campaign, timing and target audience.
2. Make it relevant
Show leadership you understand the big picture by demonstrating the need for your project. Frame your recommendations against a current issue or trend in the market, in the context of other marketing and sales activities or by illustrating the consequences of inactivity.
3. Link it to a goal
Always show how your initiative ties back to an organizational objective. The stronger the link, the more likely you are to garner support. Be wary of any programs where it’s difficult to connect to company goals.
4. Anticipate results
This critical step illustrates to leadership that marketing is a discipline—not a guessing game—and that you are the expert in your field. Close your proposal with the potential benefits of the program. Wherever possible, use industry benchmarks or results of past campaigns to establish a range of possible outcomes.
Forget length—concentrate on the four essentials
Remember, the length of your strategy matters less than simply having a marketing strategy. After all, the point is simply to communicate the need for a specific organizational investment in marketing and gain support from your stakeholders—not draft the next best-selling novel.
Every time you share your ideas and request input upfront, you build trust for the marketing team and reduce surprises during project execution.