You have your Marketing Strategy, what happens next?

What are the next steps you have to take after developing your marketing strategy?

Having a marketing strategy is like having a blueprint to success – not only understanding the alignment between marketing activity and the business vision but knowing the role that marketing plays in creating a lasting impact for both your customers and your bottom line. 

Creating a strategy is often the fun part once you’ve freed up the time and space to do one. Having an actionable plan will make most CEOs and CFOs extremely happy! You know what your vision is and what you need to do to get there – but then comes the part that no business allows the time for – putting the right building blocks in place to delivery it. 

We explore the key areas in what happen next once you have the right strategy in place. 

Marketing Operations

Marketing operations serve as the backbone that enables the effective implementation of a strategic marketing approach.  

When marketing operations are well-structured, they facilitate practical workflows, improve data-driven decision-making, and enhance the overall productivity of the marketing team.  

This allows any business to respond quickly to market changes, deploy campaigns more effectively, and track the performance of marketing activities with greater accuracy. Not to mention a greater ability to nurture your customers and grow loyalty. 

The key elements of marketing operations are: 

  • Defining roles and responsibilities within the marketing team. 
  •  Implementing processes and workflows for content creation, campaign delivery, marketing analysis and A/B testing messaging etc 
  •  Selecting and integrating the right marketing technology  
  •  Establishing performance tracking and reporting requirements and delivery 
  • Process and plans for continuous optimisation of marketing operations 

Marketing operations isn’t ever a one size fits all – every organisation needs are different. However, the role of this team is crucial for ongoing success and financial support from leadership.  

Finance

There is no point in having a marketing strategy and not adjusting your budget to support it. So many businesses continue spending money in the same way as prior to a new plan of action.  

Follow the following steps to help you ensure that the finance team are on board with adapting the financial planning and budgeting to support a new direction for marketing. 

  • Aligning the marketing budget with the overall business objectives, assigning campaign activities to certain goals, and reporting on the performance of each in detail 
  •  Identify and prioritising the most impactful marketing investments in terms of services and activities 
  •  Allocating resources effectively across different marketing channels and activities. These resources can be both internal teams or external agency or consultant support 
  •  Establish action orientated metrics and KPIs to measure the financial performance of all marketing activities 
  • Create a report on ROI just for the finance team that can be used to measure marketing effectiveness and will help justify marketing budgets in the future 

Our biggest advice is seeing the finance team as supporters and not blockers. Many appreciate marketing but often seen wasted spend on activity they don’t understand or don’t necessarily appreciate. It is the role of marketing operations to educate and provide clear explanations for activity and project spend. 

Take them through everything you are doing and make them advocates…most importantly, talk to them through data. Finance teams will appreciate when you can evidence the work you are doing with quantitative data. In our experience, it’s the way to their hearts. 

Project Planning

Running a marketing team is like running a daily project – complex and the need for some oversight and flexibility. One of the biggest parts of a marketing strategy is how all of the elements are planned and ‘activated’ and not just from a campaign for customers perspective.  

In fact, the biggest gap in implementing a marketing strategy will come from not adapting and preparing the delivery with your internal teams. 

The key steps in looking at marketing operations in terms of project planning: 

  • Defining clear goals and objectives for any marketing project – from campaign development to technology implementation 
  • Developing a detailed holistic project plan with timelines, milestones, and responsibilities for the year 
  • Implementing effective project management practices, such as task scheduling, resource allocation, and risk management 
  • Establishing communication and collaboration processes within the marketing team and with other departments with a review process in place 
  • Ensure there is agility and flexibility in the project planning process to adapt to changing market conditions. This can come in the form of quick approval processes, not having to go through senior leadership committee approval, evidencing new direction with data, having a clear vision and a dedicated team to implement 

This will take time to put in place and often requires a restructure or an evaluation of a team’s skills and roles. Don’t shy away from needing to do this. It may not be a nice process to go through, however a marketing strategy often demands new skills and new teams. 

Change Management

Once you have your marketing strategy in place, often there will be a need to make some changes to either your approach, the team or the budget as a response. A change management process is going to be your friend. 

And while we don’t confess to be experts in this area, we have learned that the following will make life significantly easier for you moving forward… 

  • Communicate – Proactively inform all stakeholders about the need for changes, the rationale, and the expected impacts…and keep them updated throughout the process of putting new things in place 
  • Manage Stakeholder Expectations – Set clear expectations on the scope, timeline, and potential disruptions of the changes, whether it be a focus only on one channel to restructuring the team or changing a legacy supplier 
  • Prioritise and Phase Changes – Don’t try and do everything at once, as often you will change too much too quickly. Identify the most critical changes and implement them in a phased approach to minimise business, and personal, disruption. 
  • Resource appropriately – Assess if additional resources (budget, personnel, technology) are required to execute the changes effectively, both in the short term and the long term. If you do, make sure this is in place (or approved) before you start. 
  • Update Plans and Processes – Revise marketing plans, workflows, and operational procedures to reflect the approved changes. 
  • Provide Training and Support – Ensure all impacted teams receive the necessary training and ongoing support to adapt to the changes. 
  • Monitor and Iterate – Closely track the implementation of changes, gather feedback, and be prepared to further refine the approach. 
  • Reinforce the “Why” – Ensure that people are reminded often as to why you are doing what you are doing. Ensure that benefits of the changes are visible to keep all stakeholders ‘bought in’. 
  • Document Lessons Learned – Capture insights from the change management process to improve future marketing strategy updates and to back up on the reasons why things have been done a certain way. Don’t ever under-estimate the power of documentation. 

In Conclusion

Taking the time to develop a strategy is a huge win for every organisation so never forget to congratulate yourself on taking the time to get it in place. The real success, however, comes from the implementation. And we don’t just mean running the campaigns!

The above checklists will help your organisation start to recognise the true power and value of your marketing function.

We encourage all businesses to take a holistic approach to implementing their marketing strategy, and not being shy to ask for additional support should you need it. As specialists in Marketing Strategy and Operations, we are here to help.

Want to know more?

Get in touch below and we can have an informal chat to understand what your needs are, listen to the pain points and to understand your vision.

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