Our recent whitepaper on strategic marketing planning for Business-to-Business (B2B) companies, we always share advice from over 65 Chief Marketing Officers. The whitepaper provides guidance on how to create a practical, workable strategic marketing plan. A plan that will actually be used, and achieve results.
The report is a great read, full of useful tips. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you can download it here (no sign up needed).
But the amazing thing was that in talking with so many CMOs, we had more ideas than we could pack into a single whitepaper. There were 4 suggestions that are practical and helpful, but they didn’t make it into the whitepaper. And we didn’t want to miss sharing them, so here they are:
1. LOOK AT WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING (AKA, BORROW SHAMELESSLY)
Sometimes your best resource for new ideas are what others have already been doing. While you need original ideas, sometimes it’s more effective to place your bets on things that have already been proven to be a success.
Don’t copy exactly what another company is doing, but adapt ideas for your situation.
The best places to borrow from are businesses in other verticals, and businesses in other geographies. You can bring a new concept to your local market that will achieve a break-through, without the risk of an untested concept.
2. CONNECT MARKETING PLAN GOALS TO CORPORATE GOALS
When you want to make your marketing plan strategic (and accountable), you have to be able to connect what’s being done in marketing with what the company wants to achieve overall. For some companies, this means that the marketing function has to make sure the corporate goals are set. (We see a surprising number of situations where the company goals are not established, which makes it tricky to be accountable for marketing goals).
Once corporate goals are set, the marketing goals should align with and support those goals. There are lots of options – customer retention and share of wallet, market awareness, and lead generation are the most common.
3. COLLECT DATA
Even the smallest B2B companies have the opportunity to use data in their marketing decision making. You might not realize it, but there are many ways your company is already collecting data on customers and products. Use the data in your CRM (or in your sales team’s experience), your sales database, your email marketing, blog readership, and Google Analytics to determine what’s most and least popular. Use this information to guide your upcoming marketing activities and budgets.
4. IMPROVE MARKETING PROCESSES
‘Process’ isn’t a work that is often associated with marketing, but it needs to be. When you start your strategic marketing planning process, treat your actions as a workflow, working towards one goal. This will help you make better use of your time and resources.
Strategic marketing planning is the heart of effective marketing. The important factor is to be practical while being strategic. We hope these 4 tips keep you on the right path.