In B2B marketing we often plan based on a company’s calendar or fiscal year, giving them a 12-month outlook on their marketing program. For businesses that are operating at a constant, stable growth rate, a 12-month marketing plan aligns well with their business planning cycle. It provides clarity, organizes staff and supports sales and the company’s revenue goals.
But sometimes marketing can’t nor should it be planned over a 12-month period. When a company is in crisis or is in a high-growth stage, it’s important to adapt your marketing planning accordingly. In periods of fast growth or crisis (such as those where revenue is needed), developing a focused, short-term plan can galvanize stakeholders around key business objectives and set critical marketing activities in motion which prioritizes marketing’s time and resources. During these periods, it’s essential to focus on efforts that can drive results immediately.
Now you may be asking yourself a question – isn’t marketing always supposed to be driving results? And of course, marketing should always be driving results. However, some marketing tactics such as brand building and brand awareness activities (eg advertising) are longer-term activities where the cumulative effort will lead to business results when combined with other lead generation and targeted sales activities.
If your company is in crisis or if you are growing rapidly, develop a marketing plan based on a shorter time-frame. For example, develop a three-month critical marketing plan that details tactics which are closely aligned with the quarter’s revenue goals. Depending on the projected growth or crisis period, have a looser plan for the remaining 9-month period. And continue to review, recalibrate and focus your marketing in smaller increments.