We’re now three months into the new financial year – almost the end of the first quarter… where did all the time go! Many of you have taken time out for some winter sun, maybe reveling in the success of last year or trying to gain an energy boost after a deflating one. Either way, the ink on your marketing plans and budget for FY20 is probably well and truly dry… or is it??

Marketing plan litmus test… ask yourself these six questions:

If you have completed your marketing plan for the year ahead, have you viewed it through the lens of your audience? Have you factored in their buying journey, the persona needs, their preferred channels of engagement? Are all your stakeholders on board? Have you aligned your goals with Sales? Do you have any processes and agreements in place to manage all those juicy leads that you’re going to generate? If you haven’t you may want to. Here are six questions you may want to ask yourself:

  1. Goal alignment: Did you discuss the goals of the business and the sales organisation and ensure your marketing goals aligned with and supported them?
  2. Persona development/review: It’s essential you understand the needs, frustrations and challenges your target audience faces, so if you don’t already have ‘personas’ for each of your target audiences you should create them and if you already have them, have you validated them with real buyers?
  3. Brand audit: Achieving customer value and brand equity involves a fine balance of brand building alongside campaign and market activation, so have you set aside budget to ensure your brand presence is healthy? Are you still living up to the promise and are you really presenting a cohesive personality to the World?
  4. Content performance review: So you’ve spent lots of time and effort creating dozens of blogs and infographics but is it performing for you? If you want your content to work hard, you need the right mix for the short and long term and budget for omnichannel amplification, so have you factored this approach into your content plan?
  5. Tech stack: You spent big last year on a marketing automation platform or you’ve factored one into your budget for this year but do you know what to do, or will do with it? Is it just an expensive email broadcaster or a well-oiled, tracking, triggering automation engine?
  6. Media planning: As I mentioned before there’s no point spending time and effort in producing great content if you haven’t set aside budget to amplify it and get into the right hands on the right channels. So, have you got a well-considered media strategy embedded into your broader marketing plan?

If you’re feeling a little nervous about any of the above, rest assured there is a sound methodology you can work through to refine these details and more. There’s nothing more cathartic than getting everything out on the table, warts and all. By bringing together key stakeholders and the impartial support of an external party, you can test your current thinking and approaches with the objective of gaining clarity, focus and a clearly defined way forward.

We’ve helped more than 50 companies build a blueprint for their B2B marketing strategy.

Find out how

Here are some clients we’ve taken on the journey

Knight Frank came to us as they were changing the structure of their marketing team under the leadership of the new Head of Marketing Communications, Kara Phillips. They had marketers in each of their business units across the country and each were using a shared email marketing platform for all communications. However, there was no centralised control mechanism in place, a lack of visibility, and no overarching strategy. There was also a sense that they weren’t getting ROI on the volume of high-quality content that was being developed.

“I wanted to ensure that we were building a ‘best practice’ marketing operation with the right skills, strategy and platforms in place’, says Kara. “So, I was keen to work with Green Hat and work through all our objectives and challenges, with the full engagement of key stakeholders from across the business.”

Over three half-day F2F workshops and additional back end research and discussion, we worked with Kara and the team to unpack the cross-business needs and expectations and presented back our insights and recommendations.

“What we took away from this thorough methodology, was a clear way forward. Green Hat developed a communications strategy and implementation plan for our new marketing automation platform (MAP). Since implementation, Green Hat has connected our MAP to our CRM, the entire team has been trained in its use, and we now have transparency and clarity on what each team are doing.”

“It’s not been without its challenges though. I would advise anyone going through what is essentially a transformation, to be open, collaborative and absolutely clear on your mission. Managing stakeholder expectations is a constant and you need to be able to translate this extensive exercise into what they consider as value for money.”

Sigma Healthcare, on the other hand, were starting with a clean slate, a newly created B2B team and they wanted to ensure that they started with the best possible strategy.

Traditionally, Sigma focused their marketing efforts on their B2C marketing, helping their retail pharmacy brands to optimise the customer experience.

“It’s not that we hadn’t been communicating with our pharmacists, but we felt it was time to focus our messaging on who we are and what we do,” says Chris Swifte, Head of Network Development. “It’s very competitive out there and we have a great deal of expertise and experience to share with Pharmacists, and we can help them build a better business.”

Again, with the combination of F2F workshops, in depth discovery and research, the Green Hat team built a strategy and actionable recommendations that spanned content, persona development, customer journey mapping, communication channels and media optimisation.

“We now have a clear roadmap that we’re working to and Green Hat were invaluable through this process. We’re excited about working with them to execute on the plan and realise the opportunities it presents.”

In both these instances, we guided our clients and their stakeholders through our ‘blueprint’ process… we helped them find clarity and focus and mapped out a way forward. This brought about confidence from across the business – something that marketers often find challenging. This process helped build a level of understanding for non-marketers and a realization that the marketing function can do so much for the business other than just breakfasts and brochures!

So, what’s next?

We’re not guaranteeing that this process is the silver bullet, but it has provided many (around 50 of our lucky clients) organisations with a firm footing from which to launch campaigns, build nurture programs, and gain stakeholder buy-in and support for their go-to-market activations.

Note: Following the blueprint strategy development, we typically implement our recommendations and manage the ongoing operations and optimisation. So not only can we facilitate the ‘thinking’, but we can also do the ‘doing’!

Want to take your clients on a journey? Contact us to start the blueprint journey today!

Are you missing something? Your B2B marketing strategy might be

Samantha Sinclair
With over two decades of experience in marketing, Samantha has worked across a range of sectors, specialising in ICT and professional services, and built skills across client relationship, marketing strategy and people leadership. She is passionate about customer experience and has built strategies that work to enhance the customer’s journey at every touchpoint.