It is common sense that if everyone in the team knows the destination, you are more likely to get there. This becomes even more important in an agile environment, in which things continuously change. If the plan is only visible to some of the team, it is tough to hold the whole team accountable for what they do.
Make your marketing plan accessible for visibility, collaboration, and execution
Too often marketing plans get built-in slide decks so they can be presented. The problem is that once they have been presented marketing teams have an uneven track record of referring to them over the course of the year to ensure their goals are being met and their strategies are implemented. Also, plans can be in one document with the budget in a spreadsheet, and the success metrics scattered across multiple dashboards contained in the numerous unintegrated marketing systems that are in use. This creates a lack of visibility and collaboration that results in poor execution.
The key is to build a comprehensive plan that is accessible to all, at all times for full collaboration. To help with decision making, marketing goals, campaigns, budget, and performance metrics should be front and center for all team members. In addition, a best practice is to have weekly touch base meetings to discuss progress against the goals and plan upcoming campaigns.
Every comprehensive marketing plan should include the following strategic marketing elements—in this order—to build off each other:
1. Situational analysis (historical data)
2. Market research and analysis
3. Company goals
4. Marketing goals (roll-up to company goals) 5. Marketing strategies
6. Target audience (segmentation and need)
7. Positioning and messaging
8. Product and services direction and definition
9. Pricing and packaging
10. Competitive analysis
11. Sales channel strategy (distribution model, customer acquisition and lifetime value)
12. Sales support (messaging, training, tools)
13. Partner/channel strategy
14. Product and services launches
16. Marketing channels/vehicles (PR, trade shows, social, email, website, direct mail, etc.)
18. Marketing activity timeline/calendar
19. Marketing team structure/growth/responsibilities (org chart)
20. Technology (software)
21. Budget allocation
22. Testing (messages, ideas, markets) 23. Metrics of achievement
24. Assumptions, dependencies, risk
Unless you are the head of marketing or marketing operations, you may not be responsible for all these plan elements. However, every person plays a part in the success of the plan, so work with your team to carve out your role.