Today officially marks the half way point in the year. Which means your 2011 marketing plan has just a few more chances to be analyzed, reviewed and refined in order to help you meet your objectives for the year.
As you look at your results, how are you doing? Are you on track to meet your plan? Or do you see wasted effort, tactical thinking and a reactionary culture.
One of the biggest reasons I see B2B marketing plans veer off course starts right at the beginning. The problem lies in how we distribute budgets.
Or to put it more plainly: money is the root of all marketing plan evil.
Well I think I’ve got the cure right here…it’s called a business case: If you want money, create a business case. If you want to hire people, create a business case.
The Road To Hell
We all start with good intentions, right? Many marketing organizations look across all the competing needs of the business. We look at the people we have and the budget reduction we know is coming. Then we decide where to make a few cuts.
Sometimes the cuts come out of a specific area. Sometimes, everybody gets a haircut. But it’s what happens next that causes all the problems.
No Plan Required: What You Got Is What You Get
Now don’t get me wrong, there are many ways in which we allocate budgets. And no model is perfect. But at some point, most organizations engage in evergreen or what I call “left to right” budgeting: what you got last year is the precedent for what you get this year – plus or minus a few percent. No business case needed. Ughhh!
Here’s What You Really Get
When you don’t have to justify your budget, bad things can happen quickly. And it can happen in a vicious cycle. Good money literally chases after bad! We fund teams simply because they exist. And with no strategic business plan, these teams quickly start producing content and campaigns no one wants or securing media that is ineffective.
Then an entire army of people are required to create governance and policies and to police compliance of brand standards and corporate guidelines…I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
How to Build a Business Case For Your Budget
OK, so let’s all take a deep breath, close our eyes and think ahead. Imagine a world where we are aligned to strategic business outcomes. We have a clear marketing objective. And we know how we are helping our company to get there. We are not spending money to justify our jobs. We are getting results that prove our worth.
In Whatever Happened to Marketing Strategy? I talk (actually I sort of rant) about the need to stop fighting today’s fires and focus on what we need to accomplish in the future. This requires:
- Quantifiable goals tied to the overall business strategy
- An articulated high-level plan to achieve those goals
- The resources required to execute the plan
- A detailed project plan that defines actions, owners and timing milestones
- The flexibility to monitor and adjust
So don’t wait! It’s never too early to start planning for 2012!
5 Steps to Focus On Your Marketing Plan:
- Identify your business goals for next year and evaluate them in context with the latest marketplace realities.
- Ruthlessly evaluate what worked and what didn’t in the recent past. Pick winners and prune the losing tactics, techniques and processes. Shift people to where they are needed most.
- Model the appropriate marketing mix in order to achieve a higher return on marketing spend.
- Define your Content Strategy based on the needs of todays’ buyers. Create an audience-first marketing mentality.
- Define an always-on, inbound marketing approach that produces more efficient and effective marketing outcomes.
But enough of my rambling. What do you think? Is this a real problem inside B2B Marketing?