At Marketri, we are big believers in having a B2B marketing plan before tactical execution which could include: content, ads, emails, webinars, events, social posts, and more. Marketing without a plan is like throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks, embarking on a long journey with no GPS or map, or dumping a puzzle on the table and leaving the pieces there disconnected. A plan seems pretty practical but there’s a reason why companies don’t invest or if they do, it is missing a bit of substance.
Related: 3 Key Benefits of a Marketing Plan
A fully fleshed-out B2B marketing plan takes work and to be effective, must contain these critical elements:
You will waste quite a lot of time planning without having an idea of what you want and can afford to spend. It may seem like common sense, but a lot of companies avoid assigning a budget in the early stages of marketing. Often, marketing consulting firms (and in-house marketing managers) end up with plans they simply cannot execute because the clients or stakeholders were never clear on cost allocation.
#2: Revenue Goals
What is the increase in revenue that you plan on achieving from your investment in marketing? Remember to take into account other factors besides marketing expenditures, such as level of competition, current brand awareness/penetration, and ability to close business. (Remember, marketing can lead a horse to water…)
#3: Target Markets
Do your prospective clients/customers spend time on LinkedIn? Would they rather here about you via referral? Plans should provide for campaigns and tactics specific to the firm’s target markets. (Note, target markets should be selected by going through a comprehensive strategic planning process—completed before any short-term marketing planning begins.)
#4: Ideal Client Profile
What is an ideal client for your firm? When answering this, think about geography, size, lifecycle and more. Your firm should have an ideal client profile for each target market. Try naming these client profiles to humanize them for your internal teams (e.g. Executive Ellen, CFO Frank).
#5: New & Existing Client Goals
How many of your ideal clients do you expect to bring in and what is the average revenue by client that you would expect? Which of your existing clients have growing needs? How much revenue do you expect from this expanded scope of work?
#6: Team & Roles
Which professionals will play a role in executing the marketing and/or sales effort? What specific tasks will you ask them to do? (Remember, you should play to people’s strengths and preferences. An in-house generalist may not have the specific skills necessary to execute on all tasks, but you can hire an outsourced marketing team that makes it easy to scale as your marketing needs change.)
#7: Marketing Foundation
What will the team need in order to carry out their roles? Examples of marketing foundation items include collateral, memberships, LinkedIn profiles, marketing technology, training, and more.
What are the various communications tactics to be used in reaching the target audiences? What content is most important in reaching your goals? Most companies focus their efforts here, but tactics should always be informed by your target market, goals, and overall marketing strategy. During this step, you should also take the time to conduct research to learn what types of content and what topics are most effective in your industry.
Such a key component that is often overlooked! There should be a detailed timeline by either month or quarter. We don’t recommend planning too far past one or two quarters, as the needs of the organization may change. This document should break down who is doing what and by when. Timelines help ensure that marketing plans don’t get stuck on the shelf.
Another biggie that is often overlooked! Senior leadership must buy into the plan and be willing to hold themselves, marketing and other professionals accountable for successful implementation.
Marketri offers outsourced marketing strategy, planning, and execution for B2B organizations. Contact our team to get started.
For more B2B marketing planning tips, check out our guide to 50 B2B strategies here.