The Essential CMO Guide to an Agile B2B Marketing Plan

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1 The Essential CMO Guide to an Agile B2B Marketing Plan Executive Brief 7600 N. Capital of Texas Hwy Bldg C, Ste 250, Austin, TX Fax:

2 Executive Brief The Essential CMO Guide to an Agile B2B Marketing Plan Where s Your Marketing Plan? Sounds like a pretty straight forward question and yet, shockingly, marketing executives don t have a satisfactory response to this question. A recent Bulldog Solutions survey revealed that most marketing executives do not have a single centralized view of their current marketing plan. Don t Know 10 % 20 % 30 % 40 % 50 % 60 % No centralized marketing plan (silos) We have an annual plan Multiple places (spreadsheets, excel, task management software) Other fig.1 If this is how marketing executives answer the question, imagine how their business stakeholders would respond? The fact of the matter is that marketing planning is the most underinvested part of today s marketing activities and yet, could be the most critical. 69% of Marketing Leaders believe annual planning is challenging because the pace of change is so much faster. (Forrester Research 2013 Global Online Survey) There s a clear correlation between planning failures and marketing s ability to deliver measurable business value: 66% of CMOs feel pressure from their CEO or Board to prove the value of marketing, and yet the outcomes are not. (CMO Survey 2013) More than 60% of CMOs still can t measure their short term impact on the business. (CMO Survey 2013) It s time for a paradigm shift in how marketing planning is performed. To be more specific, marketing leaders need to match the complexities and dynamism of their current charter with a planning approach that is more collaborative, transparent, iterative, and data-driven. In a word, agile.

3 2 The 4 Keys to Building an Agile Marketing Plan. Enter a new approach, specifically designed to build effective B2B marketing plans that empower marketing leaders to match the velocity of their businesses, the diversity of their organization and the accountability required by the C-suite. As demonstrated in the chart below, we recommend adding a disciplined planning layer that supports existing marketing operations and customer experience investments. This planning layer has four components that enable marketing organizations to: Model different planning scenarios that align to revenue goals Improve collaboration on campaign and program development Centralize calendaring of campaigns to maximize visibility and eliminate waste Optimize marketing mix in real-time Marketing Planning Ecosystem Planning Layer Demand Modeling Campaign Planning Framework Calendaring Marketing Mix Optimization Operational Layer Customer Experience Layer CRM MAP Database Accounting Systems Web Mobile SEO/SEM Events/Webinars Social Display fig. 2 1) Demand Modeling - Think of the demand model as the engine behind a marketing plan. Commonly used to benchmark performance in a rear-view fashion, your demand model can be an extraordinarily powerful tool when used in a scenario planning and forecasting capacity. For a demand model to offer any significant value to your marketing planning efforts, you first have to gain internal alignment on the definitions and nomenclature of your sales and marketing stages. This will ensure the accuracy of your marketing forecast and will build confidence with your stakeholders around the veracity of your marketing goals. Once the stages are set, it s critical for a business to define stage velocities, conversion rates and average sales price price for your model to offer any predictive value to your marketing efforts. Benchmarks are a solid starting point but be conscious of applying an apples-to-apples compare to your unique buyer s journey, particularly at individual stage levels. Aggregate full-funnel model rates will always be more reliable when comparing to benchmarks. Once demand models are set and marketing campaigns are in flight, dynamic planning organizations should be able to actively update their demand models based on actuals from prior periods. Ideally, this should reset marketing forecasts and give marketing leaders the ability to tweak their mix to accommodate current realities. Over time, expect your demand model to become more accurate with tighter tolerance ranges, gradually adding more sophistication and predictability to your plan.

4 3 You may also need to apply multiple demand models simultaneously to accommodate the unique complexions of your business. For example, you may have distinct sales and marketing process (stages, conversion rates, velocity) by business unit, product, or geography. This would increase the complexity of your demand planning exponentially, but it s essential that you have these models so that you may establish a credible marketing forecast and be able to change your marketing mix on the fly to accommodate real-time business needs. Once sophisticated demand modeling is firmly in place, over time, marketing organizations can: Add granularity around tactical conversion rates Tweak the model frequently to determine what last minute tactics can be added to hit business goals Start modeling multiple plans simultaneously along different investment scenarios 2) Campaign Planning Framework - A critical aspect of an agile marketing plan is the ability to apply processes that help marketing leaders match their strategic vision with a tight, well-craft tactical plan. Agile planning begins with a structured campaign planning framework that spans cross functional organizational silos and the buyers journey. Campaign frameworks provide a planning methodology that is used to ensure that plans are developed to the same set of organizational standards regardless of the geography or business unit. Campaign frameworks should be focused and flexible. Focused from the aspect that everyone is planning using the same methodology, and flexible in that it empowers marketers to create plans that leverage the tactic and media mix that is the most effective for their markets or solutions. A well thought out campaign planning framework starts with a set of campaign goals and budgets that anchor and guide the collaborative planning process. In our example below, the campaign framework combines six programs that span the marketing demand stages. Reputation management includes all of the pre-mql or brand activities such as press and analysts relations and social media tactics. Demand creation is broken down into two programs inbound and outbound, so that you can measure the effectiveness of your inbound content marketing and your outbound or direct mail tactics independently. Opportunity acceleration includes all of the training, content and nurture programs that are designed to convert inbound or outbound inquiries into opportunities. Tactics like pre-mql nurturing and telesales playbooks fall into this program. Sales acceleration includes all of the tools content and training that enables your sales organization to more effectively convert opportunities into sales. ROI calculators, business case builders, and interactive sales playbooks fall into this category. And finally, if your organization sells through an indirect channel, the channels enablement program includes all of the tactics that enable your partners to both convert opportunities that have been routed to them and create their own demand using your co-branded content. For large enterprises, creating a plan that addresses all of your buyer personas -- leveraging a consistent theme and message map throughout the demand waterfall -- can be daunting. But by leveraging solutions that enable your organization to collaborate across organizations with clear and transparent goals can deliver transformational results.

5 4 Goals Campaign Planning Framework Budget Personas Routes to Market Themes/Message Demand Type Content Reputation Demand Creation Inbound Demand Creation Outbound Opportunity Acceleration Sales Conversion Channels PR Organic Search Nurture Nurture Nurture AR Paid Search Direct Mail Conversion Content Conversion Content Conversion Content Social Targeted Display Events Training Training Training Brand Content Syndication Conferences Playbook Playbook Playbook Print Advertising Telesales Calendar Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Global Development Global Execution Regional Development Regional Execution fig. 3 3) Campaign Calendaring - Once a common planning framework is in place, it s essential that marketing organizations work off of a common campaign calendar that is a bottom-up view of all tactics under consideration in a specified period. A calendar that supports truly agile planning should provide real-time view of all marketing programs along dimensions like: audience, industry, product, funnel stage, tactic type, buyer type, geography, and more. Ideally, a unified, dynamic view of a marketing plan will: Ensure activities are optimized along the different stages of your buyer stages Prevent activity overlap between different teams or functions Space activities properly to prevent dead spots in the plan Drive alignment across the organization (eliminate waste and identify collaboration opportunities) Provide maximum visibility and executive control over campaigns. For true agile planning, it s also essential to democratize your marketing calendar. This means that it should report marketing tactics from every stage, should update dynamically as programs adjust, and should be visible to all in the organization.

6 5 A final critical aspect of a dynamic calendar is that it should able to provide marketing teams with a 360 view of the total customer experience. As B2B buyers control more and more of their journey, it s essential that your tactical plan deliver multiple permutations of content in a coordinated fashion. This can get extraordinarily complex as you factor in content type, buyer types, verticals and other dimensions that come into play in a customer-defined experience. As such, it s essential that you have a robust enough calendar to ensure you have the right tactical coverage to meet your goals. 4) Marketing Mix Optimization - Marketing mix allocation is an area of perpetual consternation for marketing leaders searching for a steady state or the right mix. CMO Marketing Mix Marketing Mix % -2.1% Traditional Advertising 1.6% Marketing Consulting Source: The CMO Survey, August Topline Results 4.3% Average Marketing Spend 6.6% Marketing Research & Intelligence 10.1% Digital Marketing Spend YOY Growth 2013 fig. 4 But perfection should not be the goal when it comes to marketing mix. Customer preferences shift. Competitive dynamics require response. Budget pressures force marketing organizations to explore new avenues. New technologies present opportunities to reach audiences in new ways. Clearly, the playing field is not always, if ever, level. That fact should encourage and guide marketing leaders to effectively optimize their marketing mix. Specifically, conducting what-if analyses can help compare objectives across various planning scenarios. And being able to evaluate these scenarios in one place not only simplifies the process, but puts these analytics to good use showing marketing organizations where to get more bang for their buck. When developing and/or evaluating marketing mix optimization, consider how the velocities and conversion rates within the demand model will have an impact on your mix decisions. These decisions don t exist within a vacuum and tactical choices should take into account diminishing returns as well as how specific tactical sequences can impact performance down the demand waterfall. A final consideration when trying to tackle marketing mix is to consider experimentation and iteration as part of the process. The mix should be in a constant state of evolution as organizations learn from their market and respond accordingly. The bottom line is that marketing organizations must drive measurable and predictable results. It s important not to get attached to specific tactics, and to promote an environment of open experimentation and responsive decision-making.

7 6 SUMMARY It takes flexibility, collaboration, creativity and discipline to build the organizational maturity marketing executives need today. Starting with a solid foundation for agile planning is a critical component to delivering on commitments to the business and proving the value of marketing. Here s a quick recap of where to start: 1) Demand Modeling: The engine of the marketing plan, accurate demand modeling requires organizational alignment, clearly defined buyer s stages and deep knowledge of the inner-workings of your funnel. 2) Campaign Planning Framework: Develop a mutually-exclusive collectively-exhaustive planning framework that helps to match your top down strategic vision with a bottom-up tactical plan. 3) Campaign Calendaring: Build a centralized dynamic campaign calendar to drive alignment and collaboration across the organization and to ensure that your programs adequately cover the complexity of a customer-focused, nay-driven, experience. 4) Marketing Mix Optimization: Nail down the business processes and tactics needed to reach all stages of the marketing funnel (don t ignore the middle and bottom!) in the most efficient and effective way possible. About Bulldog Bulldog Solutions is a marketing technology company that inspires B2B marketers with enterprise software and vivid marketing experiences. We believe in the science of marketing and our mission is to empower clients to take a disciplined, disruptive and data-oriented approach to their marketing campaigns. We call it Marketing in HD. The Bulldog Marketing Cloud is a suite of B2B marketing applications specifically tuned for today s demand-obsessed marketing organizations. The suite contains four unique applications that address critical needs across the BtoB marketing value chain: Bulldog Benchmark, Bulldog Gameplan, Bulldog Engage and Bulldog Measure. For more information on Agile Marketing Planning, visit our website at bulldogsolutions.com/ gameplan. Bulldog Solutions is a marketing technology company that inspires B2B marketers with enterprise software and vivid marketing experiences. We believe in the science of marketing and our mission is to empower clients to take a disciplined, disruptive and data-oriented approach to their business. We call it Marketing in HD. For more information on Bulldog Software and Agency Services go to: Bulldog Solutions 7600 N. Capital of Texas Hwy Bldg C, Ste 250, Austin, TX Fax:

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