For many of us – as we return refreshed from our holidays with family and friends – the dreaded annual planning season begins, and our calendars get flooded with planning-related meeting requests. The time has arrived again to “race” and produce an annual marketing plan that often ends up being a lengthy – and sadly unused – PowerPoint presentation or document.
With that in mind, I was not surprised to see CMOs and marketing leaders reporting in SiriusDecisions’ 2016 CMO study that marketing planning is the number-one internal process they intend to revise and improve. Related to improving the planning process, CMOs and marketing leaders across both North America and Europe also prioritized a need to improve marketing strategy skills within their teams.
Where are marketing planning processes falling short? In my discussions with Europe-based CMOs and marketing leaders, here are some of the most frequent pitfalls I have been hearing about:
To start addressing the above shortfalls, in this blog post I will focus on two areas. First, we will take a look at the information needed to build a marketing plan, and secondly I will describe a plan-on-a page template that SiriusDecisions designed to support the marketing planning process.
As we strive to build comprehensive marketing plans, it’s important to remember that marketing doesn’t operate in isolation. The marketing plan needs to align with and support the business objectives of the broader organization. There are three types of information required to build an effective plan.
Typically, these types of information become available during the annual business planning process, but if that’s not the case CMOs and marketing leaders must take steps to align with sales and product leaders around these inputs.
At SiriusDecisions we have reviewed hundreds of marketing plans, and we have completed hundreds of inquiries on this topic with our members, which gave us the opportunity to step back and put together a plan-on-a page template. The template has six sections, and our clients have access to additional tools they can deploy to populate each section:
What I love about this tool is that it provides a consistent template that can be leveraged by corporate, regional and functional teams, and it can be adapted to reflect and align both end-user and channel-related marketing plans. CMOs and marketing leaders can adopt this approach to address marketing planning pitfalls once and for all.
Editor's Note: Meta Karagianni will be one of the featured speakers at the seventh annual SiriusDecisions Summit Europe later this month. Join her and more than 800 b-to-b marketing, sales and product leaders at the Hilton Metropole in London on 26-27 September 2016.
Meta Karagianni is Service Director, European CMO Strategies, at SiriusDecisions. Before joining SiriusDecisions, she spent several years working closely with CMOs and commercial leaders in Europe and South Africa, providing strategic advice and implementation support across critical decision areas. As a practitioner, Meta led marketing teams in Europe. She started her career as a strategy/marketing consultant. Meta lives in London.