Find out more about structured B2B marketing planning process from Forrester experts to demonstrate the best return on marketing efforts and investments.

B2B marketers unconsciously encounter struggles in marketing planning every year. Most marketing teams start all over in their marketing strategies every fiscal year, wherein unfinished tactics result in business disruption, marketing goal-and-activity disconnects, and similar consequences.

The current economic conditions and future uncertainties make effective marketing planning more important than ever. Marketers must build a plan that aligns and supports business goals and allows flexibility to overcome challenges.

It’s about time for B2B marketers to recognize the importance of evolving and concise marketing plans using a proven-effective model. Find out more about implementing a structured B2B marketing plan to demonstrate the best return on marketing efforts and investments based on Forrester’s B2B Marketing Planning Process model overview report.

Forrester B2B Marketing Planning Process

B2B marketing teams face constant pressure to demonstrate the best return on marketing efforts and investments. Structured marketing planning is critical to B2B marketing success. In that way, marketing leaders can align resources to business areas with the highest impact and prevent disruption.

But most marketing functions consider the new fiscal year to create several disjointed and tactical plans instead of engaging in a structured annual marketing planning process. Forrester introduces the B2B marketing planning process in its model overview report to help marketing functions adopt a complete planning process.

According to Forrester, the phases of B2B marketing planning include the following:

    • Business Review and Alignment
    • Define Marketing Intent
    • Establish Marketing Priorities
    • Set Marketing Goals
    • Determine Key Actions
    • Identify Risks and Dependencies
    • Govern and Evolve Plan

Business Review and Alignment

Aligning revenue engine leaders with business strategies and functional objectives helps establish the cross-functional guidelines for the B2B marketing planning process. Business review and alignment prevent misunderstandings and disconnects.

This phase enables marketing leaders to utilize data from corporate strategy outputs, product roadmap, and revenue plans. Marketers can use Forrester’s B2B Marketing Cross-Functional

Assumptions Template for capturing and sharing information, and validating objectives with functional leaders across the organisation.

Define Marketing Intent

This phase involves identifying strategic intent and approaches to support the business objectives. Forrester explains the key approaches marketing teams can use in this phase, including innovating, growing, retaining, harvesting, pausing, and exiting. These approaches are valid and can be utilized in varying degrees with the help of the B2B Marketing Intent Analysis Tool for documenting decisions.

Establish Marketing Priorities

Marketers must choose the initiatives to balance the stakeholders’ needs by holding a marketing value analysis. This phase helps organise the audiences it supports and analyse what it can deliver in terms of time to value. Creating a “will do/will not do” list is crucial to support the next year’s business objectives with the help of the B2B Marketing Will Do/Will Not Do Template.

Set Marketing Goals

According to Craig Moore, a VP, Principal Analyst in Forrester, a marketing organisation can demonstrate that it’s delivering value to the business by setting and meeting objectives.

When setting B2B marketing goals, marketers must use the audience and offer information to confirm what they’re targeting and launching. They must also use the revenue plan information to confirm the alignment of audience segments with the direction of their sales plans to drive their marketing efforts.

Marketers must clearly view their marketing focus by setting goals and defining measurement criteria. Forrester highlights the characteristics of marketing goals. Marketing goals must be revenue and priority aligned. They must also be pipeline engaged and ROI-generating. Performance modeling resources, such as the Revenue Engine Planner, are helpful at this phase.

Determine Key Actions

Marketers usually discontinue their marketing activities and start over with new campaigns. But marketers should stop this instinct and continue doing effective strategies. Hence, this phase identifies the recommended programs, campaigns, and other significant actions marketers must take to attain their specified goals.

The important elements of this stage include sales and marketing timing, campaigns and out-of-campaign activities, standardization and customization, centralization and localization, and routes to market. Marketers can use the B2B Marketing Key Actions Prioritization Matrix to align actions to the new marketing priorities and goals for cohesiveness.

Identify Risks and Dependencies

At this stage, marketers must look across their organization, resources, and within the ecosystem to determine elements that could hinder the success of their marketing plans. Forrester explains that marketing teams must consider important elements to identify risks and dependencies, including processes, enablement, measurement, and organizational alignment.

Govern and Evolve Plan

Forrester’s 2022 B2B Marketing Survey shows that high-growth companies are planning to invest in brand programs when facing economic uncertainty, with brand purpose as the number one priority. And what does this finding mean for marketing teams?

Consumers expect businesses to utilize their social influence and economic power for good. Therefore, marketing teams must be able to respond to this expectation by building evolving, concise, and targeted marketing plans. They must be able to highlight their brand purpose in their marketing activities to earn customers’ trust.

Forrester’s govern and evolve planning phase explains that marketing planning doesn’t end in final planning preparation. Developing subsequent marketing plans, such as periodic programs, campaign plans, and tactic calendars, requires weekly and quarterly updates.

This phase highlights the importance of marketing planning continuity. Without weaving a connected and continuous B2B marketing planning process, APAC businesses only experience short-term success. Attaining long-term and stable B2B marketing success entails having a governing and evolving plan.

Using The Forrester B2B Marketing Planning Process

Marketers must follow the Forrester B2B Marketing Planning Process and accept that this is an evolving and concise living document. Marketing planning won’t be effective without a strong agreement of focusing on the stated business goals. Forrester explains in the model overview report that marketing planning must include and represent organizational stakeholders to address their needs.