The Ultimate Marketing Plan: Revisited

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Ohad Hecht

Summer isn’t over yet, but now is the time to start planning your marketing strategy for the year ahead.

Summer is almost over and you want to squeeze in a couple more days by the pool before you jump back into business. After all you’ve worked hard all winter on your beach look. Shake it off! The shopping season and 2016 are just around the corner, and the time to prepare is now. Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Your digital marketing plan of course!

Every summer I get all the stakeholders involved nice and early, giving me time to change the plan 100 times but then by October and November I am ready to go. I suggest you to do the same. Initiate and lead the process, rather than wait to be told by the people in finance.

I wrote about this topic this time last year,  and I think I came with a good template for a marketing plan – a combination of experience, research, talking with friends and learning from my customers. Now I am updating this a little to include two comments from that post, by Meg and Darren (are you still here guys?). I thought these were good, smart comments so just copy and paste this before the original plan:

Revenue Goals

Sit down with your CEO, division/unit head or simply the P&L owner that you work with and understand what the revenue targets you need to achieve next year are.

Acquisition

• If you’re in B2B, know how many sales people are planned for the year, and how many opportunities they are going to drive. You’ll need to make up the difference. Analyze your funnel and understand the costs per opportunity. Don’t stop at leads; track with your attribution model all the way to the opportunity and measure yourself on the monetary values of these.

• In B2C it’s all on you: you have to drive customers to spend money. It’s similar to B2B – analyze the cost of acquiring a lead, and stretch it all the way to the end (only in this case the end is not an opportunity, but an actual average sell). The budget you’ll need is the difference from last year’s revenues to the next one/average sell x acquisition cost to get to your average sell.

Off topic, since this is a subject all of its own, constantly optimize the funnel and spend as few dollars as possible on creating opportunities or driving sells. With this extra money you can do more!

Revenue Retention

As well as revenue targets, your company also has retention targets. I’m always arguing for more weight on retention, because these revenues provide higher profit margins, because businesses around the world focus too much on acquisition in terms of budgets and metrics, and because the right balance between the two helps you grow faster.

• Customer churn has a high correlation to the success of your company in achieving its revenues, especially if you’re not a start-up. Analyze your customer cohorts, and drive communication that focuses on product adoption, how-tos, new releases, education and best practices, automating this to every cohort specifically.

• In B2C your second sell to a customer is cheaper, and it ensures your customer buys from you instead of the competition. As I see it, “the third sell and onwards is our Holy Grail”. Run automated omnichannel campaigns targeted to keep customers interested and loyal.

Finally, treat every customer differently according to their purchase status, and have automatic revenue recovery programs aimed at, well… retaining revenues.

Engage your customers in feedback loops and check their satisfaction. Get the truth from them, rather than find it somewhere else without the ability to influence it. In B2B use NPS surveys, and in B2C use reviews, and collect feedback from your support teams.

The Big Question – How Much Money Should I Spend?

In B2B, you need to analyze your customer acquisition cost (CAC). So long as your CAC remains constant or improving, you can spend more money and enjoy very efficient revenues (on acquisition). Every percent of retention translates into dollars. Measure your investment against improvement in retention while keeping the profit margins. And if this remains constant or improves, keep the party going.

In B2C, once you improve your cost from advertising to sell, take the extra dollars and continue with this magic potion. I don’t believe that anyone can operate on optimum efficiency, so always try to reduce and improve this ratio. Similarly, measure your costs to additional purchase from existing clients. Shift funds from acquisition to retention if your dollar gives you more sells from existing business and you are short on new acquisitions.

Channels have changed a lot since last summer and some proved to be more efficient than others (Facebook from Google for instance), but this column is too short to discuss these changes. Please comment and add your thoughts and tips so other readers can benefit from it as well. Till next time, stay tuned. Ohad.