There’s an old cliche that says that “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The overused adage rings remarkably true when it comes to marketing strategy – if you don’t have a clear and detailed plan map out for your marketing strategy, it will likely not get off the ground and deliver the results and marketing metrics you want.
With that said, 2014 is just around the corner, and Marketing VPs should be finalizing their marketing strategy for the new year. Is your marketing plan still in the working stage? If so, be sure to ask yourself these 5 questions as you go through your strategy.
What are your metrics-based objectives?
This should be the first question you ask before making any decisions: what am I trying to achieve and how will I measure my success (or failure) in hitting these goals?
Is your primary goal for 2014 to double your lead count from last year? Do you want higher-quality leads that require a redefinition of a marketing-qualified lead (MQL)? Are you going to be measured on the opportunities created by your efforts and judged on marketing’s contribution to the pipeline? Does the CEO solely care about how marketing impacts revenue?
Identify these goals – and their relevant metrics – first before moving on to specific strategies and tactics.
Did your past campaigns move the needle?
In your opinion, you might have crafted and executed several successful marketing campaigns last year that you are planning to run again in 2014. Well, how do you know if your campaigns were actually impactful? More importantly, were they impactful in terms of generating leads…or bolstering revenue?
Look at last year’s campaigns to identify the ones that actually moved the needle on the company’s bottom line. If a campaign is producing a lot of leads but has no impact on revenue, it is probably not worth running it back again in 2014.
Is your service-level agreement with sales up-to-date?
At the end of the year, you should sit down with your Sales VP counterpart to review the year before planning for 2014. The key issue here is making sure that the service-level agreement (SLA) between both your teams is being followed and is still relevant for 2014.
Do both teams still agree on the definition of an MQL? Is sales clear on what they are expected to do immediately upon receiving a lead from marketing? Is marketing aware of the types of leads that sales wants, and are they delivering them? Without a strong SLA in place, your hopes for sales and marketing alignment in 2014 will suffer.
What’s the plan for social media or content marketing?
In 2014, if you don’t have both a social media and a content marketing strategy in place, you’re falling behind the eight-ball compared to your competitors. Rest assured, they are both heavily active in both areas, and you should be too.
Social media is obviously the chief domain of marketing, but there is a great deal that marketing can do in terms of helping the sales team out with social selling. Similarly, the content marketing strategy should clearly align with what sales is trying to achieve, with consistent messaging across the board. Make sure you have a tight plan in each of these critical areas.
Are there any big events on the horizon that should be on your calendar?
Finally, events and conferences can be significant drivers and help marketing achieve its goals, both on a tactical metrics-based level and in the foggier scheme of brand awareness. Look at your calendar to plan for upcoming events that you absolutely must attend. Obviously you can’t plan for every single event that will crop up over the course of the year, but ensure that you aren’t missing out on the most important ones, such as Dreamforce.
As you go through and craft your 2014 marketing strategy, keep these 5 questions on the top of your mind and the tip of your tongue. With clear answers and a detailed strategy for each of these questions, your 2014 marketing strategy will be a formidable and effective one.
What are some tips you have to plan for marketing in 2014?