French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is quoted as saying “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Of course, no emerging company simply “wishes” for success, but sometimes without a structured approach, emerging companies develop marketing plans based on what they have done before. As a result, marketing plans can be biased toward execution and/or lack alignment with business goals. B2B marketers at companies under $50 million need a straightforward template that enables more strategic planning and ensures alignment to the business goals.
The SiriusDecisions Emerging Company Marketing-Plan-on-a-Page Template is intended for marketing leaders at emerging companies who create the annual strategic marketing plan (larger companies should reference The SiriusDecisions Marketing-Plan-on-a-Page Template). The objective is to capture the essence of a marketing plan on a single page for effective communication and facilitate the ability to cascade the plan to individual team members. The six steps to creating a unified, actionable plan are:
- Business goals. These are quanti?able goals based on what the company wants to achieve in the new ?scal year. These are derived from the company business objectives, given to marketing as part of the annual planning process and re?ect current targets.
- Marketing objectives. The story that supports how the numerical business goals for the company will be achieved over the coming year. They identify at a high level what marketing is going to do. Input that turns the business goals into marketing objectives includes what the company is trying to accomplish and the current state of the company and resources.
- Marketing goals. These are quanti?able statements about how marketing will support marketing objectives. Goals state, in greater detail, what marketing will contribute. The goals de?ne critical metrics for marketing performance and link back to the business targets. Input needed to turn marketing objectives into marketing goals includes impact metrics (e.g. marketing’s contribution to sourced pipeline, customer acquisition cost) and readiness metrics that show how well marketing is prepared to generate successful results.
- Marketing strategy. Strategy de?nes the consistent approach that marketing will take to achieve its goals. Strategy establishes how things will get done. Input needed to turn marketing goals into marketing strategies includes in-depth knowledge of the offering, how the offering/brand is positioned in the market and an understanding of the buying process.
- Key actions. These specify how the marketing strategy will be executed. Note that this element should not be a laundry list of tactics; it should provide direction for downstream functional plan development. Key actions re?ect the current environment and available resources. Key actions are where the rubber meets the road; therefore, an effective strategy on how the people, process and technology infrastructure will support the plan needs careful consideration.
- Measures. The KPIs and metrics that directly support the achievement of the key actions. If the key actions aren’t measured, it will be challenging to gauge how marketing is performing. Activity (e.g. number of emails sent, calls made) and output (e.g. what the activities produced in the form of inquiries, demo requests) metrics are the input needed to demonstrate performance of the key actions. There also must be a correlation to how the activities and outputs impact the business.
- Dependencies and risks. This is not considered a seventh step, as dependencies and risks must be identified and mitigated during each stage of the planning process for the plan to work.
With this six-step approach and template, emerging companies can now emulate the wise words of Pablo Picasso, “Goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act.” That is why to effectively act on the plan, the emerging company marketing leader must cascade the plan on a page to the entire team. Each team member should identify what key actions and measures they will do to support the marketing strategy, as well as the marketing leader’s key actions. Once created, all individual plans should go back to the marketing leader to ensure they ladder up to the defined marketing strategy, goals and objectives.