Designing a marketing plan is an essential step at the start of each new financial year, whatever the sector or size of company. Annually, marketing teams develop a strategy aligned with the company’s objectives. However, it can be difficult to plan and innovate, given the many constraints: limited budget, small team, unclear overall vision, lack of expertise… In its latest guide, entitled Succeed in your marketing plan: the guide for the busy marketerPlezi, B2B marketing expert, suggests several best practices to succeed in this crucial exercise for you, your management and the rest of your company.
Take stock of your practices to build a coherent and effective strategy
Evaluate your marketing practices and performance
In its guide, Plezi offers several ideas and methods for implementing a marketing plan if this is not yet the case. But above all, you have access to framing and optimization ideas to create more effective plans. This critical look at one’s actions is fundamental to adjusting one’s actions, or taking new directions. An essential at the end of the year for marketing professionals who are preparing their 2024 actions.
Plezi suggests two methods to adopt in order to learn from the previous exercise and optimize your strategy:
- The method of Start, Stop, Continue : it consists of classifying new initiatives to be launched, ineffective practices to be abandoned, and those that have borne fruit and should be continued into three distinct categories. Plezi recalls the importance of analyzing qualitatively and quantitatively, based on the main performance indicators: visitors / number of new contacts generated by channel…To do this, alone or in a team, ask yourself about your biggest successes, your failures or even the most profitable channels.
- The method Impact / Profitability : this process allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of an action according to two criteria: cost and impact. The advantage of this approach lies in its ability to eliminate certain biases by approaching your marketing strategies pragmatically. For a clearer visualization, you can create a table as shown below.
The assessment will serve as the basis for your strategy. To build it, Plezi insists on the need to break away from traditional marketing theories and pay particular attention to data observable in the field. At this stage, you can also initiate your first research, such as observing trends, defining personas or balancing the balance between inbound and outbound marketing approaches.
Set clear goals
Defining marketing objectives is crucial, because it provides concrete elements to evaluate your strategies. In this regard, Plezi recommends adopting the method of predictable revenuewhich consists of estimating the turnover that a marketing team can generate each month in order to identify periods of high activity and troughs.
Classify your contacts
The method must be implemented within the framework of marketing funnel. It is therefore essential to classify your contacts according to their position in the conversion process:
- Visitor: average internet user visiting your website,
- Lead: contact identified by marketing, without assurance of their interest in your services,
- Prospect: Internet user who has demonstrated an interest in your services,
- SQL (Sales qualified Lead): prospect whose project, deadlines and/or budget you know.
- Opportunity : prospect who, in the context of B2B, has requested a quote in order to place you in competition with other service providers,
- Customer : Internet user having validated the purchase.
Define conversion rates and KPIs
For each stage of the funnel, you can apply the method predictable revenue by defining the conversion rates you want to achieve. Plezi also recommends, at each phase, specifying a SMART KPI (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely defined). These indicators can be easily tracked using a marketing automation platform, as Plezi points out in its guide:
It’s a powerful technique: combined with inbound marketing, we’ve seen businesses in the field double their overall conversion rate.
Formalize a complete marketing plan
After the assessment and the definition of concrete objectives, it is time to move on to implementing the marketing plan. According to Plezi, this plan is structured in three parts:
- The definition of marketing levers: based on the successes defined during the assessment and research, you can identify the key actions to implement and categorize them according to their channel (SEO, SEA, etc.).
- The organization of content production: setting realistic production goals will ensure you can keep up the pace throughout the exercise. For content production, Plezi recommends applying the method of content cluster, which allows you to create a synergy of multichannel content over a specific period. The process makes it possible to offer varied content to visitors and, ultimately, to increase your traffic.
- Planning annual highlights: By anticipating key events of the year, you will be prepared to tackle periods of intense activity. For effective management, optimize repetitive tasks, plan in advance, and outsource non-critical operations.
This marketing plan will be important to you throughout the year. It is obviously not fixed, and it is possible that your plan can evolve to adapt to possible new needs, objectives or constraints. But, this document will be a real compass to stay on course and achieve your goals.
It is also your best ally for negotiating your future budget with your management, and gaining credibility with readable and clearly defined actions.
To learn more about creating a marketing plan, including how to construct the budget and actually implement the plan, you can download the complete guide below.