Recently, we made a pretty radical change in how we plan our client’s marketing strategies. The “90-day Marketing Plan” has become our standard planning, execution, and reporting framework.
No more scrambling each month with a process that looks like this:
- Come up with a few creative, but often piecemeal or disjointed marketing tactics,
- Wedge in the execution of these tactics alongside a bunch of other unrelated initiatives,
- All in hopes of getting a few dramatic results we can report before the month is over, and then
- Do it all over again…rinse and repeat…insanity!
This simple outline illustrates some of the frustrations of trying to run an effective marketing program on a 30-day cycle.
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Marketing Strategy Versus Marketing Execution
As we sought to improve our monthly client engagements, one of the first things we discovered was that some of our best outcomes came from strategies and activities that were months old.
And, some of our most frustrating challenges were the result of lots of little, disjointed reactive tactics.
Too often we conflate strategy and execution. Then, to make matters worse, we assume that we need to be cooking up clever new ideas every month.
Both of these mindsets can sabotage your performance.
Discovering the importance of developing two distinct processes, one for strategy development and one for tactical execution, was transformative.
We now run our strategic planning on a quarterly cycle and our tactical execution on a monthly cycle. But, just stating it in this manner isn’t enough — start measuring and reporting in a way that supports this rhythm.
The hardest part is tempering the idea factory at weekly and monthly meetings. Instead, spend time analyzing the results of your marketing activities and opportunities to iterate toward your strategic objectives.
The Best Way to Create a Marketing Plan
Start with a good inventory of your marketing assets and from there determine what you can leverage and what you need to create.
And of course, involve every member of your marketing team (and maybe some of your sales team). It’s critical that everyone — regardless of role and responsibilities — be on the same page.
5 Elements to an Effective Digital Marketing Plan
Now that we’ve touched on our reasons for replacing a 30-day marketing plan with a 90-day approach, let’s dive into the finer details. Here are five elements of an effective digital marketing plan. When working together, these generate leads and contribute to revenue growth.
1. Business Objectives
You can’t create a targeted marketing plan until you understand your business objectives. This is bigger than the marketing department. It focuses on your company as a whole.
For example, business objectives generally fit into one of five categories:
- Economic objectives
- Social objectives
- Human objectives
- National objectives
- Global objectives
Depending on company type, size, and industry, you’re likely to focus your energy more heavily on two or three of these (as opposed to all five).
Once you know your objectives, build your marketing plan around them. This helps keep you aligned with the “bigger picture.”
Forget about your marketing plan for a second and focus on this one key principle: know your audience.
Before you ever create a marketing plan, define your target audience. Do so with the wants and needs of your sales team in mind (see above).
Don’t think about your needs, think about the customer’s needs.
Don’t make decisions based on what you think is best. Make decisions based on research and evidence.
You can have the best marketing plan in your industry, but if it doesn’t target the right audience it’ll fall on deaf ears.
Traffic, traffic, and more traffic.
It’s what every company wants, but many struggle to obtain.
An effective digital marketing plan is designed to generate traffic through various means, including but not limited to:
- Search engine marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Influencer marketing
Expect some of these tactics to generate better results than others. For instance, your audience may be responsive to email marketing, but not have much interest in social media.
As you track and analyze traffic statistics, you can then adjust your marketing plan to better allocate resources.
Traffic is a good start, but it’s only the beginning. Conversions are what you’re really seeking.
As a marketing professional, the word conversion doesn’t mean the same to you as it does to a salesperson.
Take search engine marketing, for example. Your goal may be to convert website visitors into newsletter members.
Conversely, the sales department is more interested in, you guessed it, sales!
By collaborating with the sales department upfront, it’s easier to create a 90-day marketing plan with each type of conversion in mind.
Not every lead will close on the spot. In fact, it’s rare. That’s why lead nurturing is such an important element of a digital marketing plan.
Your marketing plan should have a clearly defined nurturing sequence, with a focus on things such as:
- Leveraging content to keep your audience engaged
- Developing multiple touchpoints
- Following up with leads in a timely manner
- Sending customized, personalized emails
- Implementing a lead scoring model
- Aligning marketing and sales strategies for optimum nurturing
Think about nurturing leads in the same manner as watering your garden. If you don’t add water, your plants will die. So, if you don’t nurture your leads — such as in the manner above — they’ll eventually turn into another company’s customer.
Don’t Forget the Sales Plan — Revenue is the Ultimate Goal
While a strong 90-day marketing plan is crucial, don’t forget the sales plan. After all, revenue is the ultimate goal.
Create your marketing plan in collaboration with your sales department. Address questions such as:
- What are their preferred lead types?
- Which lead characteristics are preferred?
- What does the sales process entail?
When your marketing plan generates the right type of leads, everyone wins in the end. If you’re ready to create a 90-day plan that puts your business on the right track, our digital marketing planning worksheet is a good jumping-off point.
Book a discovery session with Kaleidico today. We’ll actively consult with you about your brand and give you our recommendations for your best lead generation opportunities.
We’ll show you how we would do it. But even if you don’t implement these recommendations with our team, you’re sure to walk away with a fresh perspective of your brand.