B2B Marketing Blog

Written by Lisa Shepherd
on December 12, 2016


We’ve all read the articles, whitepapers and books on strategic marketing planning.  And we’ve even learned some great academic frameworks and concepts from those sources for building strategic marketing plans. 

But when you’re in the thick of writing a plan for your company, what you really value is practical advice. Those little tips and insights that come from people who’ve been there and done that, and that help you avoid pitfalls and end up with a plan that is actionable and useful

And so, as strategic marketing planning season is upon us, here are 23 practical tips on strategic marketing planning from myself and members of the Chief Marketing Officer group on LinkedIn.  And for bonus, the 5 that are bolded are the ones I think are most practical (because so many companies seem to miss them!): 

  1. Make sure your primary marketing message clearly DIFFERENTIATES your product or service from the other guys. If it doesn't, nothing meaningful will come of any plan. (Al Shultz)
  1. Do it on one page. (Aneliya Mukhamedkarimova)
  1. Measure performance across the board. (Chris Mitchell)
  1. Don't turn a blind eye to the competition. (Dahlia Zayed) 
  2. Think about what really matters to the people you want to consume your product. (David McCaughan)
  1. Talk to stakeholders. Identify expectations. Agree on objectives and goals. (Fred Barson)
  1. Set milestones. Establish a process to review objectively. (Gerard Allard)
  1. Talk to your customers. Find out what matters to them and how to better engage. (Heidi Dethloff)
  1. There has to be "buy in" from all parties that will be executing the plan. (Hyrum Lai)
  1. Be 100% honest about the SWOT analysis. Too many companies mislead themselves about where they’re really at.  (James Margelony) 
  1. Refine your message to effectively reach each target audience. (Jay Ahuja)
  2. Ask what you're going to do different from last year in terms of competitor activity. Because if they do what they did last year and you do what you did last year, the outcome will be the same.  (John Griffiths)
  1. Get right to the meat of things - the programs and the budget. You can go on for hours with wording. Keep it simple and straight forward. (Lee Taylor)
  2. Verify the organization’s strategic objectives before creating the strategic marketing plan. (Lisa Butzer)
  1. Be agile and tweak the plan over the year, as needed.  (Lisa Montejo)
  1. Don’t let your marketing team become ‘the art department’. Strategic marketing is about strategy, not colors.  (Lisa Shepherd)
  1. Strategy is about making choices. So make sure that your budget (time, investment and sales targets) is aligned with the strategic choices you made. (Luis Fracica)
  2. Don´t fill the plan with buzzwords, acronyms and vanity metrics. Instead, pack it with actionable insights and some well thought out tactics behind those actionable insights. (Mario Cordon) 
  1. Add some creativity to test new activities. (Sandrine Avenier)
  2. If the focus is ‘actionable’, then timeline, budget, and resources available are essential. (Sarah Lim) 
  1. Focus on no more than three major initiatives, ensure they are well understood and appropriately resourced. (Simon Lane)
  1. Make room for at least 20% of unexpected new ideas and projects that come your way, because they shouldn’t be put aside just because they were not in your initial plan. (Tania Lamerton Viegas)
  1. Understand what it takes to get your prospects to act before deciding on the tactics. (Tracie Close)



For more insights on strategic marketing planning from top CMOs, download our whitepaper ‘Strategic Marketing Planning for B2B Companies: Lessons from 65 CMOs’



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