Tax day is over, and July 4th isn’t all that far away. Wasn’t it just New Years? 2015 has reached its cruising altitude, and we’re settled into the year by now. So how is your 2015 going? Is your marketing plan coming to life as you expected?
There are so many [moving] parts and pieces in today’s marketing function –– social, metrics, CRM, #analytics, print, events, web, Google, creative, webinars, SEO, vertical data, tags, SEM, etc. –– yet I suppose many of us marketers believe we intuitively know the right pieces to focus on for the best results. But do we really? And then “things” happen.
Maybe you’re like me. As I went through my planning process and review for 2015 (way back in Q3 2014), I considered many options in order to achieve a better 2015 marketing result –– things like:
- Send more email campaigns!!!
- Send fewer email campaigns!!!
- Plan on attending more events
- Cut back on events and focus on ROI
- Diversify the collateral portfolio (inject new ideas)
- Consolidate the collateral portfolio (cut the clutter)
- Develop a master plan tying in strategic events and thought leadership publishing
- Simplify marketing goals for 2015 (focus on basic blocking and tackling)
- Utilize more metrics and analysis across specific high-value targets
- Streamline and focus the use of metrics and data analysis generally
- Engage aggressive cross-enterprise support early on (stay visible!)
- Lessen dependency on cross-enterprise support (stop nagging!)
Okay, there are many things a marketer can do, may do, could do, should do. And there is perhaps no definitive right or wrong answer, but rather shades of better choices. Marketing is part art and part science, we say, and it’s true. I’d say it’s more about getting started on the right path, locking in adequate support & resources and securing the high-value results –– rather than striving for perfection early on. Here are some things I periodically consider, which you may also find useful and apply to your marketing activities:
Focus: Think about your company’s primary objectives and priorities; how is marketing directly influencing and enhancing attainment of your company’s top 3 goals? What are the success stories you want to tell come December 2015?
Flexible Execution: Based on your resources, funding and support for marketing activities, what can you reasonably expect to continue to execute well in 2015 that will drive the biggest bang for the buck? “Things” will continue to happen in 2015 as they did in 2014, so stay flexible and keep moving forward in spite of disruptions – and personalities.
Your Extended Team: Have you reached out to those you will be depending upon for co-execution or support to pull off your 2015 plan? Maybe it’s the IT folks, your leadership team, a peer or someone very new to your organization. Haven’t approached them yet? Don’t wait. Call, email, drop by on them sooner rather than later. You’ll be glad you did.
Intent: Be sure to have a thoughtful intent and metrics for every attended event, every collateral piece developed and every social campaign executed. But stay flexible. Things happen. Your mileage will vary. Objections will appear to be both closer and at times further way than they really are. But measure as you go. Compare where you are with where you were and where you want to be. If you plan early, this will be a good experience for you. Intent, in marketing, is a bit like surgery: you don’t want a hesitant surgeon with shaky hands.
Keep it Pithy: As in your external messaging, keep your internal communication brief and targeted too. Putting together an effective marketing plan is part of bringing more value to your company, but securing specific support from those you will be counting on to help in the execution of your plan is vital. Keep them informed with periodic simple updates. Think big picture and progress towards priority goal attainment.
Trusted 3rd Party & Accountability: Have someone (a mentor, peer, team member, etc.) reminds you when you begin to drift into the weeds, move away from your main focus or allow other activities to consume your limited time and resources. Putting the master plan together is not the hard part. Ensuring you stay with the spirit of the plan to achieve the right goals, and subsequently your company’s objectives, should be the main event.