Time has come… to create your B2B Marketing plan… for your life!!
For most of the B2B marketers, the Marketing plan is one of the top priorities at the end of the year. Some of us are in the final stage, some others might be just starting now.
The template, format, information depends on the needs of the company, but what we must avoid is to create long documents which are presented to the Board of Directors and then not used to really define the path that you and your marketing team are going to follow during the following year.
In order to create an actionable B2B Marketing plan, I would like to share with you some tips based on the experience of creating and coordinating them during several years:
Use the planning time to make some research
As said previously, the goal of the Marketing plan is to define the path and the key projects you will run in the following year. Before starting writing down your ideas, let’s start with some research to better understand the current situation of your market. Here are some ideas you might want to start working on:
- Update your keyword study – Also, it can be interesting to update your competitors Keyword research.
- Competitors analysis and Benchmarking – new competitors might have arrived during this year.
- Focus groups & surveys – Good time to talk directly to your audience.
- Analysis of your own campaigns – What went well or wrong? Should we try it again?
Align marketing goals with business contributions & product evolution
The big mission of marketing is to create a brand. However, our marketing efforts should be translated into positive ROI. Talk to your business and product team in order to align your work as a team (you can add in this conversation the information you got from the research done in the previous step).
- Is your company expecting to grow in a specific sector? Time to update your target audience
- Are you going international? You will have to allocate your resources to this.
- Are new features coming? You will have to work on a communication plan for launching them.
More alignment needed? Check out this complete guide to align Marketing and Sales teams.
Not convinced about alignment? Read about the vector theory. Simple but effective!
Work on SMART Goals based on Customer lifetime KPIs
Based on the research and the alignment with the business team, it’s time to define your goals. Do not set goals like “increase our brand visibility”. Instead, use really measurable goals that let you know where you want to go, but overall, how you are going to achieve it. I know it’s basic and you can read a lot about SMART goals, but I still see many marketers defining not measurable goals which, obviously, are not achieved at the end of the year.
The number of publications in Media or the leads generated during a specific time are good goals to start, but you might want evolve your marketing by defining more business-oriented KPIs such as:
- Customer acquisition cost
- Average price value
- Annual contract value
- Total lifetime value
Don’t over promise & Focus
I dream of a data-oriented Marketing instead of a project-oriented marketing. Don’t intend to do thousands of projects during the following period if you know that you don’t have the people or the money to do it. Think about relevance for your company, get the insights from your market research and decide which the most impactful projects to run for next year are. With the evaluation of the past campaigns and the effectiveness of your main sources, you will be able to decide what makes sense for your company.
Need some advise to get some focus on your Marketing strategy? Please, read this Marketing Minimalist Manifesto.
Identify the resources & technology you will use to accomplish
Finally, it’s good to dream big, but we have to achieve it and that depends on the resources and people you have.
- Is the size and structure of your team aligned with your goals? I share in this article some ideas on how to structure your marketing team.
- Tools and technology needed: sometimes is not a matter of more people, but working more efficiently. Study the technology used by your competitors or similar companies with this tool: BuildWith.
Final thoughts about your B2B Marketing Plan
Don’t start the year without a Marketing plan. your plan will make you understand what the definition of success for you and your team is.
The marketing plan is a live document. You will need to review it every quarter, at least, to identify what needs to be updated. It’s not what you are going to do, where you want to get to.
Don’t waste your time building long marketing plans which are not going to be read or later. Work with simple and actionable templates that are easy to update and follow.