Planning for marketing is a serious undertaking. By itself, planning can be a full time job; however you already have one of those – so planning introduces a high-pressure tailspin to keep everything moving while also figuring out what’s going to happen next year.
If you haven’t begun or you are looking for ways to tackle the dreaded planning process, here is a quick overview of the high-level steps I have used to manage it in the past.
Establish high level goals: You (or your head of marketing) need to establish the high level goals with other leadership in the organization. This serves as your commitment to the organization and the primary goal should, ideally, be in the form of marketing-generated revenue. This set of high-level goals should be vetted with the C-suite as well as sales leadership. This step may sound obvious, but failing to align these goals with the rest of the management team can quickly turn a marketer into a grinch next year.
Reduce high level goals: That got your attention! I don’t mean make your number smaller, but rather break it into piece parts. For example, if your marketing team is comprised of an inbound person, and outbound person and a person doing events, you’ll divide your overall revenue number into revenue goals for each those functions/individuals based on past performance and anticipated opportunity for growth of the channel. If your team has a bonus structure, their bonus should be tied, in part, to this number. Other, objective-based goals should be divvied up accordingly as well.
Translate the goals to actions: Now that each person knows their revenue number and objectives, they can each go through an iterative process to build a plan. Help your team translate the revenue goals to activity, using conversion metrics to back into the amount of touches that will be needed. This helps each individual understand their contribution to the team/organization as a whole. Have each team member build a slide deck of their goals and the activities they need to do in order to reach them. They should detail proposed timing, budget, and impact of each activity.
Iterate: Organize a schedule to iterate on these plans multiple times as a team. Expect several sessions with the entire team to review the individual plans. Encourage dialogue among team members to look for synergies, challenge assumptions, and identify economy of scale. As team leader, you should be preparing a slide deck as well that establishes the high level goals and strategies that your team will employ in the next year. When done with the iterative process, consolidate all the decks into one slide deck that can presented to and discussed with the organization to ensure understanding and agreement with the strategy and plan.
Phew! We are about halfway there. Tune in to the next post for part 2 of the planning process.