Learn how to build the important elements of an effective B2B marketing plan.
Do you struggle to build an annual marketing plan for your organisation? You’re probably unsure of where to start or when to stop. Does your B2B marketing planning process involve all the right stakeholders?
Many marketers find annual marketing planning tricky. Forrester shared the steps to build the key elements APAC leaders can follow to build a successful B2B marketing plan.
When building an annual marketing plan, it’s crucial to do the following:
- Set Marketing Plan Objectives
- Orient Marketing Planning Priorities
- Determine Marketing’s Definitions for Success
- Capture Dependencies and Risks in the Marketing Plan
- Use the Plan on a Page to Guide Marketing Initiatives
A marketing plan is supposed to be a helpful tool for communicating in all areas within the organisation. In that way, everyone is on the same page, and proper expectations are set for all marketing team members. This helps in strategic marketing prioritisaton. However, marketing leaders find it difficult to build a good marketing plan. The challenges marketers face when finding a better marketing planning approach include the following:
- Lacking a consistent template describing the annual marketing plan development process
- Lacking knowledge and skills in the use, find, and analyze information
- Lacking knowledge and skills on how to unite all information and transform it into a successful marketing plan
Forrester also highlighted the 7 Steps To An Effective Annual Marketing Plan in an e-book. These targeted steps have been designed to unify business and marketing around shared objectives, goals, actions, and outcomes. Moreover, a minor mistake in your annual B2B marketing plan can negatively impact your business’s revenue goals. This e-book educates marketers on how to create an effective and agile marketing plan by explaining the most overlooked planning steps marketers miss and the secret to defining strategic direction.
Gather the Right Marketing Plan Information
Start your annual planning by gathering the right information. Forrester’s VP, Principal Analyst, Craig Moore, shared the three types of information marketers need to gather, sort, and integrate into a B2B marketing plan.
Business strategy is the first key information that plays a crucial role in marketing planning. Marketers must build a plan to understand the business strategy and how it translates into what path the company wants to take.
A marketing plan must demonstrate a more in-depth understanding of the company’s target audiences and portfolio by working with the product management team. On the other hand, the business revenue plan is vital to understand the revenue proportions coming from prospects and existing customers and upselling, cross-selling, and retention.
Align Marketing to Business Strategies
B2B CMOs face challenges when developing short-term and long-term marketing strategies with high-level input from corporate strategies but without a clear understanding of the business context. They are expected to interpret business strategies independently and make assumptions and recommendations as to what the business expects and needs from marketing.
CMOs are caught in the middle because there’s no clarity and goal alignment across product, marketing, and sales during the strategy development process. As a result, priority conflicts and
uncoordinated efforts could jeopardise a business’s success. So, CMOs need to understand the business context.
Forrester helps its clients overcome these challenges. The Forrester Marketing Strategy Compass is a helpful tool for CMOs and marketers. It’s a step-by-step model that can help marketers formulate a marketing plan that aligns with the overall corporate strategy. This tool can help CMOs clarify, prioritise, and measure relevant information and tactics for all marketing resources to deliver business growth.
Set the Right B2B Marketing Priorities
A series of significant events swept the world, from shifting to remote and hybrid work and the “great resignation” to inflation and peace and order problems. Businesses find themselves constantly adapting to these changes and shifting priorities. Huge shifts in B2B buying behaviours were greatly observed post-COVID-19, adding to the challenges of marketing leaders in APAC.
Forrester will be holding a webinar to help marketing leaders identify the important considerations when developing their marketing plans and strategies next year. The 2023 Planning Priorities For APAC Marketing Leaders will highlight the latest research on the top focus areas that APAC marketing leaders must prioritise as they plan for 2023.
Identify Dependencies and Risks
The Forrester B2B Marketing Planning Process helps define and partition the steps from validating business objectives and creating marketing contributions to determining the best actions that marketing teams must take. This process includes identifying dependencies and risks.
Documenting and communicating the resource, product, infrastructure, and investment dependencies relevant to marketing is crucial to gather important marketing plan elements together. Marketers can accomplish this goal using marketing planning tools, templates, and worksheets, such as Forrester’s Plan-On-A-Page Template.
To build the elements of a B2B marketing plan, marketers must apply the necessary steps and tools that Forrester recommends. Forrester has been in the research industry for many years, helping technology and business leaders use customer obsession to boost growth. The most successful technology and business leaders worldwide rely on Forrester. The company continuously finds ways and develops solutions to help B2B marketers create a solid marketing plan, perform at their best, and attain the goals that their companies expect from them.