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5 Steps to write a Data-driven Marketing Plan? 
                                                                                            - Shiv M Kumar 

Data-driven marketing is becoming the de facto standard; with over 74% of marketers expect to increase budgets on data marketing. This statistic pops few critical questions to me as a marketer:

 

(a) If our marketing plans are datadriven?

 

(b) How to write one?

 

A deeper read of analyst reports reveals the areas where data-driven marketing is currently in practice. Data is used to arrive at new product strategy, special offer creation & targeting and to track customer support experience. Data usage to devise yearly marketing plans and budgets are yet to catch up. Augentia consultants reviewed many marketing plans and found they fall in one of the following two methods:

 

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♦ A rehash of past year's plan & budgets by simply asking for a % increase or

 

♦As a thumb-rule, marketing budgets are taken as a % of overall revenue, and the marketing plans are accommodated within it. It is also referred to as Marketing Budget Ratio (MBR). Many analyst reports, such as the recent CMO survey 2016 budgets++, feeds to this thumb rule by stating the average marketing spend %.

 

Both these methods are not backed by marketing and sales data or learning from past experiences.

 

Instead, a data-driven marketing plan focuses on past year's performance, market opportunities to tap, dropping non-performing campaigns of yesteryears while adding new / improved ones and demonstrate how per $ marketing investments multiplies into x$ of revenue, with a written on markeing (ROMI) framework.

As marketers or business people, if you think marketing plans to be data-driven, I encourage you to read this article. We will discuss 5 simple steps to write a datadriven marketing plan and provide a template to write one.

 

Step1: Assemble your Data (The facts to drive your plan)

 

It is a quick one, if you follow a structured approach as given:

 

If you do not have historic data, consider taking industry leader or contender's data, by performing a competitor analysis.
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Step 2: Tell your Story and Align (Get your stakeholders' support) Get your storyline straight and simple.)

 

Get your storyline straight and simple.

 

A lot has been written on marketing storytelling for external audience. Your internal stakeholders are critical audience too, as they need to
 
♦ Understand your plan and
♦ Collaborate effectively
 
Understand the business priorities of your team members and weave your story tightly aligned.
 
Use of relevant quotes, images and illustrations will help narrating your story.
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Step 3: Make your choices (The datadriven recommendations)

 

The data assembled will give you key insights to make your choices. Which campaign to continue, the products to focus on, the must-attend events, the most lucrative buyer persona and the new channels to be present are few critical questions to ask.

 

A simple table as above may help to narrate your reasons for recommendations.

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Step 4: Decide your metrics (The ROMI framework)

 

A recent survey confirms, about 80% of businesses measure leads generated by marketing campaigns, while 63% prefer to link it all the way to revenues.

 

Check the norms followed by your organization and by the industry and pick the appropriate metrics and key performance indicators (KPI). These metrics should showcase the 'marketing impact' on business goals. Aligning the marketing efforts to the organizational objectives and demonstrating the contribution is key. ROMI framework is very effective and setting it for your business is a critical step.

 

Step 5: Pick a Data-driven Marketing Plan Template (Get a quick one)
 
A simple Google search shows over 231,000 results for a 'Marketing plan template'. A similar search for 'data-driven marketing plan template' shows only four links (out of which one is for a training and three are ads).