The past 18 months have delivered many shocks to the business world. For the many stories of businesses retreating, there are similar stories of businesses growing and succeeding at the expense of their competitors. One of the secrets to excelling in times of great change is to have a roadmap to guide your marketing and sales efforts. We often hear that a business has a Marketing Plan to which we ask, how is that going? Last year many businesses shut off their plan or had locked in tactics that had very little chance of succeeding.
A Marketing Plan is a key component of a strong business, but it lacks the power of a working Marketing Roadmap. The difference is a roadmap has a defined starting point and single or multiple destinations that you intend to hit. You also develop key priorities and milestones of where you want to be along the way and have a series of options that allow you to deviate when necessary to reach your ultimate destinations.
I’ve seen many marketing plans that looked like this: Last year 40% of our budget went to attend these 8 trade shows, then 20% went to put ads in these 3 trade publications. Another 20% went for print collateral for our products or catalogs and the final 20% will go to web and email plans. This is a marketing mix plan based on a historical past, not a view of where you want to go and where your customers are. Early 2021 was filled with businesses taking part in virtual trade shows with very little attendance or engagement. These decisions soaked up a large part of this year’s budgets and left little options to reach customers in other ways.
We look at 7 critical components in Marketing Roadmaps. These include your destination, or in some cases multiple destinations along the way. Goals are critically important and need to be aligned with your overall business, not just marketing. Priorities are the area that sets Roadmaps apart from Plans and Calendars. This critical step needs to be addressed before a Plan or Calendar is set in motion. Milestones are also critical in making sure you are moving toward your stated objectives and know when you need to pivot. With all this effort Plans become more tactical and Calendars can be filled out using your priorities and milestones (sales launches, big events, etc). The final piece of the puzzle are KPIs – critical metrics that can be leading indicators of your progress.
We realize this can be a daunting task, and some ask us if it’s worth the effort. Our clients that went through the process in 2021 found themselves focusing on their business priorities this year, even as events were canceled or delayed. We simply shifted dollars from one tactic to another while maintaining momentum on these priority products and services. In each case, these clients are well above budget expectations for the year. It takes some discipline and patience, but the preparation and work allows much clearer decision-making in times of great change and turmoil.
This month’s videos address Marketing Roadmaps, follow along all month and be sure to follow Rand Inc on LinkedIn. If you missed last years article on building a robust marketing roadmap, you can find it here. If you would like to talk to us about your marketing plans and roadmap, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org