7 Steps to Optimize Marketing Planning and Drive Revenue

Marketing isn’t always perceived as the growth and revenue driver that it is. How can we change that? 

2020 challenged and changed our traditional marketing methods. We’re adapting to the new era but not when it comes to analytics. Marketers can’t just look back at performance, they need to look forward and use those insights to fuel further growth and optimize.

Here are seven tips to help marketers master a performance-based marketing planning process and turn their teams into a trusted and efficient revenue engine. 

Tips #1 Learn From the Past, Every Step Counts 

The best way to improve is to learn from past mistakes. Delve into every step of the journey that got you here today and highlight both the good and bad moves. Learn from the things that didn’t work and truly internalize why certain moves didn’t land and how can you apply that to future events.

Confronting your mistakes is crucial to growth. And as scary as it sounds, a few heads can be better than one in this case. Host a team retrospective after a big project or campaign, and go over all the triumphs and the opportunities to do better next time. Don’t shy away from confronting what didn’t work. An open dialogue when it comes to feedback will help propel your team forward with better preparation for the next journey.

Tip #2 The Right Data is Critical 

Over the past decade, more and more data management tools are rolling onto the market. While they’re all aimed at helping us have better data control and insights, the amount of measurements marketers could take today is overwhelming. This can make data and its measurement seem like a behemoth of an undertaking and cause marketers to shy away from it entirely. 

The key to finding the right data is to start with a clear question. What questions are the marketing team or the company trying to answer? What are the best data sources to provide insights? Working in the era of big data, the ability to identify the right need and further tell the story from the data set is a critical skill your marketing team needs to develop. But be specific and focus only on what’s valuable information. Start thinking of yourselves as stewards of data and watch the team culture shift.  

Tip #3 Identify the True Buyer Needs 

When you tighten up your marketing measurements, you can start to make revenue-optimized actions against any part of your customer’s life cycle. It’s imperative to tailor your content to your buyer by identifying their true needs and matching the right service or product. We can only maintain long-term relationships with our customers by offering the right solution to their true needs. 

Buyer’s needs should be at the centre of every touchpoint

Elissa Fink, CMO Advisor & Mentor, Former CMO at Tableau Software

Tip #4 Clarify and Align Around Goals 

It’s not uncommon for marketing teams to work on several projects which support various goals at the same time. As the adage goes: “focus down to speed up”. Focus on one main goal to optimize productivity. 

Bring your team to a consensus on what the priorities are and how you should be tracking against them. This will take some negotiation and discussion but at the end of it, you’ll be more aligned than ever and focused on the same goals.

Another critical aspect to keep in mind is to continually link your metrics back to driving business impact. By doing so, you’re creating an explicit path to revenue that will help serve as an organizational north star for strategic conversations around metrics.  

Tip # 5 Adopt Agile Methods to Meet Your Needs 

Agile teams help their organizations overcome new challenges faster. With agile, teams adapts as they goes, turning uncertainty into opportunities. Agile methods can:

  1. Reduce costs
  2. Increase productivity
  3. Give a competitive boost
  4. Create happier employees

How good does that sound? 

The most popular agile methods are Kanban and Scrum. But 47% of marketers implemented a hybrid approach because neither method was a perfect fit. Do what works for your team. 

Change is never comfortable, but it opens up so many new possibilities if we focus on the positives. Applying agile to marketing planning is a big undertaking, but you can do it by breaking it into manageable tasks. We layout best practices in another blog: How to Make Marketing Planning More Agile

Tip #6 Build Cross-Functional Channels to Support Your Team 

The support from other functions plays a big role in helping marketing run faster in the long term. Bring in stakeholders from other departments such as finance and sales that have similar goals. The cross-function alignment provides the team with better visibility to map out the next step as a company, not just as a single team. 

Ideally, all departments should have their own targets and goals that roll up to support the company’s overall priorities. This symbiotic relationship will only help emphasize the significance of marketing’s contribution to the business because of its ability to support the goals of other stakeholders.  We must be on the same page when discussing the measurement of success by the core KPIs. It helps everyone make the right decisions to grow revenue when all the functions are aligned. 

Happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees

Forbes 

Tip #7 Celebrate Every Accomplishment 

Part of growth is recognizing how far you’ve come. Embrace the human talent that shifts the organization to the next stage of its evolution.

As a marketing leader, cultivating a work culture that values employees and makes them happy will further increase their efficiency. Everyone wants to be included and valued. Recognizing the value of your team’s work will boost productivity and empower each member. Have faith in your team and witness the internal growth from them.

Trust the ingenuity and passion of your team

René Bonvanie, Executive in Residence at Battery Ventures and CMO Emeritus at Palo Alto Networks

2020 threw everyone a lot of curveballs. As we adjust to 2021 many are looking to be more resilient,  bounce back, and boost the growth. For more resources to help you tackle anything in 2021 brings, check out our  5 Focal Points to Guide Marketing in 2021.

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