Manage Your Marketing: Does Everyone Know It’s Planning Season?If you think about it, “planning season” has predominantly been the domain of marketers. We are almost possessive of the craziness that ensues as we strive to plan marketing campaigns for our clients (or our own companies) for the coming year. In truth, however, planning season, just like everything else in business, does not/should not belong to any one company. In an ideal situation, marketing may be leading the charge to enter into planning season, but everyone within the company is part of the process.
Who should be working with the marketing department to create a cohesive and integrated 2014 campaign? What can they do to aid in the process? Here are some ideas.
Ultimately, any good marketing campaign will be deemed so based on whether sales rise. Because of that fact, it is essential that marketing and sales work together, at least on the front end of the planning process. Your sales department can offer you customer insights based on in-person conversations. They can inform you about what people are asking for, what competitors are doing, and how your customers and prospects may be reacting to those competitors’ efforts. All of this is valuable information as planning for a new year and new campaigns begins.
Like your sales team, your customer support staff can offer a lot of insight into how customers are interacting with your products or services. If a problem keeps rearing its ugly head, that is something that marketing can either deal with directly or marketing can promote the resolution of the problem once the solution is found. The customer service/support staff should also be aware of what the marketing campaign will entail in generalities so that they know what the company’s message is along with from where customers may be getting their information.
The marketing and the product development team can benefit from working together in the planning stage of a campaign. The product development team can alert marketing that some new products are on the docket for the coming year. This enables marketing to perhaps reserve some funds for promoting those new products. Similarly, the product development team can alert marketing that a product contrasting existing products may be introduced. This can impact how marketing promotes the existing product. Planning ahead can prevent messes in the future.
Yes, to a certain extent it may be beneficial to integrate your HR department into your planning process. If you are planning to significantly increase production, for example, you will be able to alert HR that you are going to need to hire more people. Knowing this ahead of time can enable HR to prepare so that the vetting and hiring process runs more smoothly.
Perhaps the most integral people to incorporate into the planning process are also the most difficult to pin down. Your president, your VP of sales and marketing, your CFO if you have one, and any other members of your management team should offer ideas about how the year to date has gone, what they are hoping to achieve in the coming year, how they want to allocate the budget, and what they want the new year’s budget to be. Ideally, these insights are gathered before the rest of the team really begins to plan. Each department comes to the process with marching orders and a budget in mind, and from there decisions can be made more efficiently and effectively.
While marketing can certainly take on responsibility for coordinating the planning process, marketing should not “own” the plan, nor should planning season become overshadowed by silos or territoriality. In the end, the entire company will benefit far more from a plan to which everyone contributed. Start your year on the right foot. Make sure everyone is involved in planning season.
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/amirblumenfeld/1270142719/ via Creative Commons
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