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Struggling with 2018 planning? Here’s how to hit growth targets faster

Struggling with 2018 planning? Here’s how to hit growth targets faster

In ABI’s 35+ years we have worked with many business-to-business companies, from large corporations to start-ups. Some have well established marketing departments with defined roles and responsibilities, others operate as a “one-man-show.”

Regardless of size, marketing professionals often find themselves trapped in tactical issues, such as booth design or sales brochure development.  As a result, the big picture gets lost which causes a struggle to stay focused to achieve marketing goals.

With 2018 approaching fast, it is time to make sure you do it differently this time. Below is a checklist for strategic marketers:

  1. Reconnect with your company’s leadership team

Business goals change and marketing needs to stay aligned. Conduct a marketing workshop involving the leaders of the business from the CEO and Managing Director to heads of Sales, R&D, Manufacturing, Finance and Business Units. Understand short term revenue opportunities, timing, sales cycle, competitive challenges, value propositions, geographic scope and other important factor. Come prepared, make it count.

  1. Create SMART marketing goals

Translate business goals into marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Create benchmarks that will guide you through the next year and will measure your journey to success.

  1. Partner with sales

Sales people are constantly in touch with your customers and prospects. They also have a picture of the perfect lead they would like to receive from marketing. Have open conversations with your sales team and understand their challenges and their needs, then move to step 4.

  1. Create decision-maker personas

Invent an ideal prospect, think of as many details as possible, share with your sales team and stick on the wall. From now on, everything you do needs to resonate with this strategic demographic.

  1. Put together a list of new product launches

Talk to your product managers to understand what is going to be ready for the market in 2018. Create a realistic timeline for each launch and start a countdown to the big splash at least six months before.

  1. Reposition existing products, technologies and services if there’s nothing new to announce

Revitalize legacy products and technologies by improving positioning platforms and value propositions. Avoid commoditization by focusing on value and not on the products themselves. Become a thought-leader and the preferred resource for specific applications. Effectively drive preference with compelling testimonials that are strategically positioned.

  1. Compile a trade show / events calendar

Use your marketing goals as a benchmark – all events should bring you closer to achieving them. If the show is not relevant, don’t invest. If it is, then create a plan and to build quality traffic, capture leads and follow-up post-show to close sales faster.

  1. Create a key media matrix and editorial calendar

Trade media, digital and print, is a powerful channel to push your message to target audiences. Planning ahead will help you achieve critical exposure in important pre-show issues.

  1. Don’t forget about your advertising plan

If you find that a media website or publication is driving quality traffic to your website, consider a strategic advertising program to further fuel this interest. Effectively leverage media platforms that deliver prospects.

  1. Create content

Now when you have your personas ready and editorial calendar at hand, plan your content calendar to fit media schedules and deadlines.

  1. Be social

Support your content with a blog that positions your business as an expert. Avoid brag-and-boast content. Feature content that helps potential customers better understand how to achieve success faster.

  1. Do: Google

Whether you’re an active user of PPC and SEO or just taking your first steps with Google, optimize regularly. Use google analytics and take advantage of the free Google training.

  1. Use project management tools

To keep on track with all the deliverables, employ project management tools such as podio.com or good old excel.

  1. Track your progress

Set calendar reminders to benchmark your progress against your goals and steer the campaign in a different direction if needed. Check progress regularly – at least once a month.

With more and more focus on ROI from marketing activities and the necessity to establish a continuous flow of sales leads, marketers are under constant pressure. If your organization doesn’t have the resources to deal with marketing strategically, partner with an agency that does.

Your marketing dream team schedule:

1. Conduct workshop with the management team to identify business goals and challenges – month 1

2. Work with sales and marketing teams to establish a perfect prospect – month 1

3. Competitor analysis – month 1

4. Personas development – month 2

5. Integrated communications campaign – month 2

6. Key publications matrix and yearly editorial calendar – month 3

7. Weekly timeline to keep your marketing team on track – month 3

8. Project and marketing team management – ongoing

9. Results analysis – ongoing

10. Team training and coaching – ongoing

Get in touch to learn more.

by Yulia Tribrat