The Annual Marketing Plan – Bringing It All Together

Posted on June 13, 2011

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In an earlier post, I discussed the advantages and challenges of including 7 specific go-to-market tactics in your marketing plan. In this post, I want to take the discussion further and talk about how these tactics play off each other and how you can use them in building an integrated annual marketing plan.

I recommend that you build your marketing plan using a visual aid like a table or a grid. In the picture alongside I have shown a grid that has weeks in the columns and tactics in rows. A table or grid like helps you build an integrated plan that allows you to plan how tactics could play off each other and complement each other

  1. I always begin by identifying the events (industry or company organized) that I wish to participate in. Event planning is usually a long lead process and more often than not you know well in advance when an event is scheduled. Mark the week when the event is planned.
  2. My next step is to schedule online events like webinars or launch of a whitepaper. You may not have much flexibility in deciding the dates of industry events but you can schedule your online events to ensure you don’t have your events all bunched up together. Now consider how some of the other tactics help you build momentum around these anchor events.
  3. Email outreach campaigns that encourage your audience to take concrete actions are always more successful than the ones that merely ask them to visit a website. Design your emails to have your audience meet you at the industry events or attend your webinars. Schedule the email drops a few weeks before the actual event.
    • Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that emails should be only used to drive traffic to events. I am suggesting that your primary call for action should be to get your audience to attend an event. This ensures that your audience sees and reads your email. Any email message usually has more than one call for action.You can build additional calls for action in your email to get people to download a trial or read more details on your product features. The primary call for action gets your audience’s attention and they take action on the secondary call for action.
  4. What applies to email outreach applies equally to your search engine marketing, social media marketing and online banner campaigns. You have much greater flexibility on scheduling the start and the duration for these campaigns. Usually their schedule and intensity is governed by the budget available.

I have found this grid based planning template an extremely effective tool for putting together an integrated marketing plan. You can add more information to the grid like budget, resources, etc. that each of your tactic would need. The grid allows for easy collaboration and developing progressively improved versions of the plan.

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Posted in: On Marketing