To run a successful marketing plan and budget, it’s important to identify and manage your team. This blog talks about the key stakeholders in the delivery of a successful plan. If you operate in a large company, you may have multiple team members in many of the key stakeholder roles. If you work in a small company, you may find that one or two individuals wear most of the stakeholder hats between them.You will also likely find that some of the stakeholder roles are filled by people who aren’t full-time employees (FTE), but are instead carried out by contractors, consultants, or agencies. How the stakeholder roles are filled is less important for the purposes of this topic than understanding what the roles are, and ensuring that the responsibilities are understood and owned by someone on your team.
This blog outlines the team you will need around you to maximize your chances of achieving your marketing goals on budget and on time. First, it covers the key stakeholder roles, and then it introduces a responsibility matrix to help you assign accountability throughout your team, so everyone understands what they own, what they influence, and what they need to know at all times throughout the year.
The 7 stakeholders of a marketing plan and budget
The CMO (or VP of Marketing, if that’s how your company is structured) is the executive leader and owner of the marketing plan and budget. The CMO is accountable for committing the marketing organization to achieve a certain set of valuable outcomes given a budget that they negotiate with the company. Once they have buy-in and support from their CEO and executive peers, the CMO must clearly communicate the goals, metrics of success, and high-level strategies to the broader marketing organization. They must ensure team alignment, and delegate responsibility for (1) spending budget (2) executing campaigns (3) reporting on results throughout the team.
One or more marketing directors typically report to the CMO. They are often responsible for a marketing function, such as PR, Demand Gen, or Product Marketing. Depending on the company structure, they might be responsible for a region. Given their seniority and the nature of their role, Marketing Directors typically are given responsibility for a portion of the budget, and then it’s up to them to figure out how to spend that across campaigns and other activities in order to achieve the marketing goals they’ve understood from the CMO. It is the Marketing Director’s responsibility to ensure that a clear understanding of goals, target metrics, timeframes, and strategy is clearly understood by their team members.
Figure 1. The marketing plan and budget stakeholder chart
Marketing campaign managers are accountable for designing, coordinating, and executing the campaigns that will achieve the marketing goals. They are often functional specialists. For example, there may be a digital demand campaign manager or someone dedicated to running the company’s events. They frequently receive a target budget from one or more of the Marketing Directors, which defines the spending envelope for their particular campaign, Campaign managers must be operationally strong, have excellent project management and coordination skills, and possess superior communication capabilities.
Marketing Individual Contributors
Marketing IC’s are typically responsible for the majority of the actual spending in a marketing budget. They will source and purchase the items and services necessary for running the campaign. As such, they need to possess both marketing and financial acumen. They need to be detail-oriented and rigorous in updating their activities and data to ensure that campaigns are executed well and on time, and to ensure there is always current and accurate metric and expense data on hand to generate meaningful reports.
The fastest-growing role in marketing organizations, Marketing Ops is a multi-disciplinary role that encompasses finance, technology, analytical, operational, and marketing skills. Marketing operations influences plan and budget set up, enables the team to be successful by implementing and monitoring the tools, systems, and data they need to execute effectively, and captures, synthesizes, and reports on the progress of the marketing plan and budget, including forecasts and recommended course-corrections.
Sales is a critical stakeholder for almost every marketing organization. Since marketing is largely occupied with generating awareness and interest in a company’s offerings in order for sales to close deals on those offerings, it is of paramount importance that Sales and Marketing are well-aligned at the beginning of the planning and budgeting cycle. Sales needs to understand what it can expect from marketing, and what it should not expect. The sales leader must ensure there are sufficient sales resources to handle the pipeline generated by marketing, and marketing likewise needs to be sure that it is neither over- nor under-feeding the sales team with well-qualified leads. As the year progresses, sales represents one of the most important voices in terms of gauging progress and identifying needed course corrections in the marketing plan.
No other function spends like marketing. Everyone in marketing spends, and they spend quickly on hugely diverse items from incidental expenses to major investments. A strong relationship between finance and marketing will make everyone’s - and I mean everyone’s - life easier in the company. Marketing needs to make friends with finance, align processes, understand mutual accountabilities, and work together to ensure marketing expenses are tracked and budget data is kept as current and accurate as possible. Fresh financial data means that marketers can make confident, well-informed purchasing decisions at the rate they need to in order to achieve their marketing goals on time. Inefficient finance-marketing relationships create budget, execution, and business risk.
A note on IT
There is an argument that IT should be one of the key stakeholders in the delivery of a successful marketing plan and budget, and you will not witness strong pushback on that idea here. Indeed, as MarTech becomes more powerful and more diverse, the partnership between marketing and IT is critical. I have chosen not to include IT in this view for two reasons. The first is an effort to keep the model succinct. The second is that a strong Marketing Operations leader can and should act as an effective liaison between marketing and IT, so I decided not to include IT in addition. If you think it makes sense to include IT as a key stakeholder in your plan and budget, you should go for it.
The IOU model: accountability among the marketing stakeholders
It’s critically important that the marketing stakeholders understand the IOU model, which is a simplified version of a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) model.
- The I in IOU stands for influence (i.e. an influencer is not ultimately responsible for a task, but they should be involved in defining and shaping the task).
- O stands for own. If a stakeholder owns a task, the buck stops with them - they are ultimately responsible for the definition and outcome of a task.
- The U stands for understand. If a stakeholder is required to understand a task, they may not be involved in its creation or definition, but they are accountable to the team and themselves for understanding how something affects them, and what they need to do to contribute towards a task.
The Marketing IOU chart is outlined below, mapping accountability levels for the key tasks in creating and running a successful marketing plan and budget.
Figure 2. The marketing plan and budget IOU chart
If you are able to identify the stakeholders and the IOU model for your marketing organization, you will have a significantly greater chance of success in delivering your marketing plan. You will achieve greater clarity throughout your organization, higher efficiency, and more accurate communication and data sharing. Your stakeholder and IOU model might look slightly different from the examples shared in this blog, but if you apply this framework in a way that makes sense for your organization, your marketing organization will benefit throughout the year.
Dan Faulkner is the CTO of Plannuh a marketing performance management software. Dan has degrees in speech and language processing and marketing. He got his marketing degree after running research for text-to-speech synthesis research at SpeechWorks (now Nuance) and must have been looking for something easy to do. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.