Over the years I’ve seen hundreds of variations on the marketing planning process from nimble startups to large enterprise marketing organizations. And there are 3 tactics I see that elevates marketing strategy development that work all the time.

Swim in the “Blue Ocean”

The famous business book by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim, Blue Ocean Strategy, is about creating and capturing uncontested market space. My corollary for marketing strategy development is going through the same approach for your go to market. That is, ideation on developing a creative business idea that can drive your marketing forward. This can be about any marketing approach or activity or several of them.

Tactically, this can be done at a team offsite with a sprinkle of folks from other departments (sales, customer service, product development, etc.). But the output of these sessions could be great approaches to driving demand, or new themes for content editorial, or whatever. But working together your team will own the idea as a group and increase the willingness to prioritize that initiative.

Collaborate to Educate

Marketing planning leadership is about communications. Collaboration with various teams (outside marketing) during the planning process will ensure organizational acceptance and buy-in. Also, it gives team members at all levels an opportunity to socialize and learn from one another.

At several large marketers, I see all too often divides between sales, marketing, customer success, product and finance teams. Successful collaboration is about teamwork and camaraderie. It’s those relationships that deliver results. This really starts with company leadership, but it can also start with marketing leadership. That is, does the CMO / VP Marketing collaborate regularly with sales, customer service and finance? If not, your marketing plan will sit in a drawer and never get implemented. A team – not just the marketing team – delivers marketing results.

Format is Important (The “5×5”)

Many times I see experienced marketers build their plan in Excel and Word. It’s how we were trained. But it’s a BIG mistake. While doing our homework is important (excel / word), your marketing plan should be built in presentation and video format — it should be a “TED” talk. It’s a vision & strategy. It is a sales pitch both internally and externally.

In Ethan M. Rasiel’s The Mckinsey Way he talks about McKinsey’s 5x5x5 rule as a way to present a persuasive business idea. Marketing Planning is no different. At TBM, we use a 5-slide deck that covers in order: GTM Overview; The Integrated Plan; The 5 Areas of Excellence; The GAP MAP™; The WORK MAP™. Each one of these slides is a visual that expresses our decision making and ultimate strategy. The Work Map is the bridge between strategy and tactics meaning what are we going to accomplish our goals in the next 6-12 months in 5 slides anyone can digest with a shared recording of it being presented.

What are your thoughts on ways to ensure the acceptance of your marketing plan? Share your thoughts on The Buzz Slack.