2020 Marketing Planning – powered by Marketing Analytics
It’s about time for 2020 planing. Marketing teams across the board are heads-down reviewing 2019 performance and coming up with strategy and budget for 2020. With our marketing analytics services, we have been enabling our customers to access 2019 (and before) marketing performance data on the fly along with the ability to drill down into the data to discover actionable insights and do what-if analysis for 2020 planning. Having access to these marketing analytics capabilities to access performance data in real-time has been game-changing for our customers especially when it comes to annual planning.
As good as having these capabilities sounds, it goes without saying that the road to having these capabilities is not easy. Apart from numerous other factors that influence a good marketing analytics strategy, data quality is one of the critical ones. There is a good old saying that no matter how good the chef or the restaurant, the dish that comes out of the kitchen will only be as good as the ingredients that go into making of the dish. Translating this analogy to our world of analytics,
the insights that are provided by marketing analytics frameworks can only be as good as the data that is fed into the analytics infrastructure by the martech platforms and the associated processes.
The topic of data quality is very broad in marketing analytics but for this discussion around marketing planning, we would like to
focus on 1 key area – the campaign planning and execution framework.
Whether it is a start-up or an enterprise company, there is one constant across all marketing departments, the need for “programs execution” at lightening speed to drive engagement with the customers and accelerate pipeline generation. The faster a marketing organization is executing programs, more is the need for the marketing analytics teams to provide insights around the performance of the campaigns to enable optimization of the strategy and spend in the pursuit of higher ROI. Given the growing scrutiny around marketing budgets and the asks across the c-suite for ROI from the marketing spend, these analytics powered optimization process is critical to keep fueling the demand generation engine and at the same time delivering the ROI for growth marketing.
To drive execution of the marketing strategy across the marketing tech stack, marketers execute programs in marketing automation and CRM platforms at the individual campaign and tactic levels. This is the theater where the real marketing action takes place every day in front of the customers. Across all our marketing analytics engagements, the common theme is to get visibility into the performance of marketing activities. Most marketing analytics frameworks cover 4 broad categories (discussed in detail here):
- New Engagements – Volume and Quality:
- Cohort-Based Demand Waterfall Conversions:
- Influenced and Sourced Pipeline:
- Multi-Touch Attribution:
When it comes to understanding what channels and themes are resonating with the customers, it becomes challenging for marketing analytics teams to aggregate data and provide actionable insights because a common theme or framework is missing across most of the marketing organizations. While creating campaigns, most of the marketing organizations follow no or at best, the framework of a fragmented campaign. This approach makes it difficult for marketing analytics teams to compile the data and provide actionable insights. Our experience has shown that many organizations see the campaign planning framework as a mere nomenclature alignment exercise but this is what eventually prevents marketing analytics teams from providing meaningful insights. Campaigning planning and framework are beyond just nomenclature. As any seasoned marketer would agree, campaign planning is a strategic exercise, which aims at:
- Aligning the marketing planning and execution with the sales objectives and strategy.
- Taking into account customer needs, the company’s offerings and business objectives.
- Aligning budget planning and campaign performance measurement around these common themes.
Setting up a campaign planning framework requires a well thought out strategy. Based on our experience, we crafted a campaign planning and execution framework and we have been constantly updating it based on the feedback that we have been receiving from our customers, who have had tremendous success with it. Here are the details of the framework:
- Go-to-Market Strategy and Goals: this is the most critical part of the planning process wherein the company strategy is translated into numbers (including the demand waterfall goals) for the organization. Leveraging the marketing analytics frameworks for funnel conversions, ROI and marketing mix modeling, MQL and pipeline goals are created for the marketing teams and budgets are allocated to execute the programs towards achieving those goals.
- Strategic Marketing Planning: as marketing goals are finalized, marketing teams start working on deciphering those goals to align them with the marketing programs and channels that would help them achieve those goals. This is the point in the marketing planning process wherein the market mix modeling and ROI data prove to be of immense value for the marketing leaders and especially for the growth marketing ninjas. They are enabled to make confident decisions around budget allocation across different teams and channels to make sure that they can optimize the marketing spend towards driving the highest possible ROI.
- Campaign Hierarchy and Themes: this is the phase in the planning process was the program execution starts to take a shape and this phase is critical when it comes to marketing analytics. By now, marketers have a good understanding of the overarching marketing themes for the organization, marketing goals, and budget allocation. In this phase, marketing teams start putting together the blueprint of the “integrated campaigns” along with the tactics that would support those overarching themes. For example: maybe there is a big product launch planned for a year and the overarching theme could be “secured enterprises” and how their organization is helping secure the biggest enterprises on the planet. Now, to drive engagement with this campaign, marketing teams come up with different programs and assets by leveraging different tactics in their marketing mix. This is where the rubber hits the road and the marketing budget is spent on driving engagement with potential customers. All the data generated is captured by the marketing tech stacks, which in turn are leveraged by the marketing analytics teams to help with providing the campaign performance insights to the marketing and sales teams both at the individual tactic/program level but also at the strategic (campaign themes) level.
- Campaign Launch Planning: in this phase, the individual marketing plans are put into motion in collaboration with various marketing, sales, telemarketing/inside sales (SDRs) and cross-functional teams to ensure timely execution and follow-up of the leads. Per the standard operating proceeders and SLAs in the demand center for the marketing organization, program and tactic level content strategy, assets, testing plans, segmentation, and analytics reports are all designed and approved in this phase in preparation for the next phase, the execution phase.
- Execution: all the hard work that goes into marketing planning comes to fruition in this phase when the campaigns go out of the door to start driving engagement and follow-up with the sales organizations. Both marketing and sales teams closely monitor the campaign execution to make sure things are working as per the plans and they can share the real-time feedback that they are getting from the customers engaging with the campaigns and the sales reps having the conversations with the engaged leads. This feedback is extremely valuable to make sure any on the fly tweaks in the campaign (like messaging, calling scripts, scoring, follow-up strategy, etc.) are taken care of and at the same time, results are shared across the organization.
- Performance Review and Optimization: once the campaign execution is completed, marketing teams are keen to see the results so that they can objectively analyze what worked and what did not to optimize their campaign execution strategy. This is where the insights provided by marketing analytics teams are of immense value. The results of such analysis are useful for guiding the development of future campaigns.
A well thought out campaign planning framework ensures proper program execution and allows marketing organizations to scale execution without losing the visibility into key insights for continuous performance optimization.
At marqeu, we strongly believe in the game-changing ability of marketing analytics. This belief only gets stronger every day as we are working tirelessly with our customers to help shape and implement their analytics strategy, which is increasingly driving the success of their marketing strategy.
Modern marketing is complex. The number of ways in which different organizations successfully plan and execute marketing campaigns amazes us and that is the best part. We are always on the lookout for inputs and examples from the marketing and sales communities to keep adding value for our customers. We would welcome the inputs from other leaders and practitioners around how they are designing campaign frameworks for 2020 at their organizations, what are the key objectives of their execution strategy.