All too often, I see businesses whose go to market is not aligned with their overall goals and objectives. This is a function of marketing planning not taking into account business, revenue and margin goals of a company while being developed.

Here are 3 keys to ensure your marketing planning efforts align to your company’s goals and objectives.

Start Planning with Business Objectives
To begin your marketing planning effort, start by identifying the top 3 things that are important to the business. Is it revenue growth? New account acquisition? Once these are selected, put a quantitative goal in place for each item (e.g., Add 20 new key accounts this year). This will help guide what do we do to in marketing to drive the business forward.

Typically, I recommend to clients to select one revenue goal; one account or sales based goal; and one customer-facing goal where marketing can contribute to overall enterprise value. And a word of caution here, not all marketing initiatives need to be directly revenue generating. Some may focus on NPS or cSAT which will indirectly contribute to revenue via CLV and company profitability.

Plan Your Marketing with Revenue In Mind
As marketers we tend to look at a longer timescale than sales, but it is important to understand where revenue is coming from and where it will come from over the course of the next 24 months to plan effectively. Not only with this help guide segmentation and messaging approaches, it will also help set priorities. That is marketing return on investment isn’t just a CAC number, but also where is a dollar into the engine creating the best return. And sometimes those returns aren’t quarterly but accretive to longer term business value — but over time these efforts must contribute to the top or bottom line.

For example, can we build a marketing engine that focuses on higher CLV clients? If not, we are marketing in the wrong place to the wrong segment. Your marketing plan should reflect this strategy operationally in where we are making investments and where our team is focusing it energy. Use revenue to set your priorities short term, mid term and long term.

Every Marketing Program Must Have a Business Outcome
As you plan your marketing effort, each marketing program must be connected to one of the 3 identified business objectives. It needs to deliver an improvement on that business outcome. If a program can’t justify itself to one or many of these outcomes, it should be scratched from the plan. It won’t drive business results. You must build the business case, measurement model and proforma financial output for the program.

All too often I see marketing plans that are tactical and not strategic. That is, the dots between a marketing program and its business outcome has not been properly mapped out. This is why marketers loose credibility in the c-suite. Use a solid planning framework that includes business planning to marketing planning to tactical planning and you won’t go wrong.

In essence, the goal with strong marketing planning is to ensure every program has a business case. And every plan has a business outcome that aligns to the strategic plan of a company for the next few years.