Objectives, strategies and tactics must work together
Want to feel better now about next year? Then finish that marketing plan so you have that behind you – and frankly it isn’t all that complicated.
First, remember that in the b-to-b world, marketing is not “advertising”. Effective marketing combines selling, customer retention, customer service, sales lead generation, sales tools, branding, website optimization and a host of communications tactics.
So start here – with your objectives
Your objectives are your broad, business-driven, brand-driven, market share-driven goals, and defining them is a cornerstone of your sales-and-marketing plan, for example:
1) Increase sales revenue by $4 million
2) Increase awareness of our brand in the Western region
3) Improve our customer retention rate by 20%
4) Successfully launch our new Z-2 product line, with at least $1 million in sales
Note that these are sales and marketing objectives, not “ad” related goals.
Next, define your strategies
Strategies are also somewhat broad. Don’t confuse strategies with the next step, tactics; many people do. Strategies must support each of your objectives, for example, these four that support the above four objectives:
1) Grow new business sales by $1.5 million and grow sales from existing customers by $2.5 million
2) Launch a branding / awareness campaign targeted at the Western region
3) Conduct primary research with our customers to uncover detailed wants and needs
4) Set aside a budget for publicity, promotion and demos for a independent marketing launch for our Z-2 line
Now, lay out your tactics
Tactics are the specific initiatives, tools and events needed to implement your strategies. Each tactic has its role, timeline and budget. Tactics should be managed by a marketing expert who is on top of today’s online and offline tools, resources and techniques. Here are tactics to support just part of the first strategy from above:
1) Tactics to drive new business sales of $2.5 million
i. Install marketing automation software aimed at delivering at least 2 “sales ready” prospects to each sales rep each week
As you can see, marketing planning is not all that complicated – but you do have to set the time aside to do so (hint: get out of the office to do this.) Here are a few other tips:
In the planning stage, it’s important to assess your market presence, your selling environment, your uniqueness (what sets your company apart from your competitor), and your strengths and constraints.
We recommend a written marketing / advertising / sales / communications plan. You need the blueprint to refer to.
Make sure that your creative approach supports your marketing communications plan; that your identity, website, collateral, ads, packaging business cards, etc. are consistent in look, feel, and messaging.
Assess the scope of the marketing work and determine what human resources you’ll need to carry out the plan. Get outside help if necessary.
Measure the ROI
With today’s robust analytics you can measure results from many tactics almost immediately, allowing you to re-assess tactics and adjust on the fly.
Ensure that your marketing, advertising and support activities are always aligned with your sales goals, and that both sales and marketing personnel are part of the marketing strategy team.
Good luck with your planning!