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How Connected Marketing Planning Leads to Campaign Success

Maria Pergolino, Chief Marketing Officer, Anaplan, writes about advantages of connected planning and how it can improve the chances for campaign success 

Marketers are idea generators. They’re creative, aggressive, and results-oriented. The discipline that marketers practice, however, is as much a science as it is an art. To be successful, marketing campaigns—and those who plan them—must be grounded in defensible business metrics and held accountable for tangible results.

Business planning platforms are essential for providing the structure, support, and evidence marketers need. They make the process of collecting, combining, and disseminating empirical data much easier, providing a roadmap that significantly raises the chances of campaign success.

Connected Planning, a relatively new approach, has taken the business planning process to an even higher and more effective level. Connected Planning is a platform, and a discipline, that allows people, data, and plans to interact in order to better manage virtually any planning process, at any level—from a single business unit to an entire enterprise.  By enabling managers to draw from and inform all relevant areas of the business, Connected Planning breaks down walls and supports better organizational decision-making.

marketing planning

As a replacement for traditional spreadsheets and legacy tools, Connected Planning makes collaboration considerably easier. Files buried in email inboxes become a thing of the past, as managers from multiple departments work from a single source of truth in the cloud. Connected Planning is also more flexible and intelligent; it automatically normalizes data from disparate sources, greatly reducing the amount of time it takes to assemble and unify information. Updates are visible to all relevant parties, accelerating team efficiency and shortening the lag time for decision-making.

For marketers, Connected Planning has particular advantages that can improve the chances for campaign success before, during, and after execution. Here are five of the most prominent:

Rallies the entire organization behind your campaign.

Let’s face it—for some in a large organization, marketing can seem like a “black box” pursuit due to its reliance on the communication arts. Connected Planning offers transparency, giving skeptical parties visibility into the reasons and factual basis for what can be high-stakes initiatives.

The best way to elevate marketing within the enterprise is not to report results after the fact, but to generate buy-in before campaigns begin. When marketers provide defensible and definable targets up front, it lets everyone see the big picture. Stakeholders in other disciplines can react to, and build on, upcoming marketing activity; when financial planners see spend views, for instance, it allows them to quickly understand the cadence of spend in a structure that works for them. This allays concerns and generates enthusiasm for upcoming efforts.

Integrates data quicker (and from more sources).

 A recent SiriusDecisions study indicated that organizations maintaining an integrated process between sales, marketing, and product achieve up to 19% faster revenue growth, and 15% higher profitability. Connected Planning, by design, allows data from a wide range of sources—retail accounts, distribution partners, rating systems, external/internal sales, among a few—to be quickly gathered, normalized, and integrated.

Without integration, marketing planning can be challenging. “Spreadsheet fever” can take over as files are shared in all directions via email. Having a common platform with built-in support for multiple data formats overcomes the integration issue, simplifying the planning process and enabling planners to focus on higher-level tasks. It also allows data to be parsed and segmented faster—as data is rolled up and analyzed collaboratively, across functions, new insights are generated. By analyzing, segmenting, and scoring customer accounts according to class, for example, it’s easier to identify and invest in the customers who are most likely to buy.

Ends ambiguity. 

John Wanamaker, department store magnate and father of modern marketing, once famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Today that riddle is being solved with Connected Planning. The tools in this advanced platform allow planners to establish benchmark metrics at the outset, then prioritize and adjust as the campaign unfolds to achieve maximum marketing ROI.

Ad-hoc analytics and A/B testing are essential to identifying aspects of a campaign that are working well, versus those that need attention.  Furthermore, they allow marketers to easily disseminate accurate information, thereby reducing miscommunication and the potential for costly errors.

Reduces lag time for iteration.

 In an ideal world, the time between planning and decision-making would be zero. Marketing plans based on twelve-month timelines are no longer relevant; today’s real-time business landscape requires that critical plans be agile and potent, accurately depicting what’s currently happening on the front lines.

Connected Planning gives decision-makers the immediate feedback they need. With up-to-date information as a campaign unfolds, managers can see where returns are better than expected (e.g., message, audience, or channel results).  They can change or re-allocate dollars to where help is needed—or they can double-down on winning channels or messages.

Ties result back to objectives.

 Nothing is more compelling for the next campaign than demonstrable success from the last one. When executives across the enterprise see how campaigns have performed against goals, they can better understand the positive impact of campaign components. Even if results are mixed, dialogue is improved and post-mortems are more productive.

Once again, Connected Planning’s single source of truth is a big advantage. Users can see the direct impact of marketing campaigns on their departmental plans. Marketing managers are able to answer questions from senior management by speaking in holistic terms. Overall, business is better served when campaigns are not conducted in the background, but in a visible, tangible fashion.

It’s important to remember that trust is essential to effective business planning. If individuals don’t trust the real-world relevance and applicability of a plan marketing or otherwise it will sit on a shelf, making its creation merely an exercise. On the other hand, a well-constructed plan, built transparently and with the support of diverse stakeholders, is a true asset that significantly improves outcomes.

According to a 2016 Gartner CMO Spend Survey, 63% of marketers rank investment in marketing analytics technology as a top priority. If marketers had Connected Planning at their disposal instead of spreadsheets, the very nature of marketing management would change. 

Connected Planning drives better conversations, more agile adjustments, stronger decision-making, and better results. Productivity increases of 50% or more are not uncommon making Connected Planning not only a smart process decision but also one of the best tools a marketer can have to raise both the science and the art, of their marketing efforts.

Source: https://www.martechadvisor.com

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