Think Better Marketing


2020 Marketing Planning Template

It’s that time of year! 2020 is right around the corner and as marketers, it’s time to figure out the budget, priorities, plans, and targets for the upcoming year.

As we help our clients with their 2020 plans, I thought I’d share the Think Better process and template with other marketers out there who are looking for guidance.

Understand the Business Goals

Before I start any marketing planning, I get clear on the business goals for the upcoming year by asking the leadership team a few questions:

  • Is the company looking to grow fast (in which case I’ll need a big budget) or is the leadership seeking more sustainable, organic growth?

  • What is the product roadmap? Are there releases that we need to plan to promote?

  • Are there business development and partnership goals?

  • What is the seasonality of our business and how does that impact the yearly plan?

  • What are the sales targets for new and existing business?

The answers to these questions will determine where marketing focuses their efforts.

Set Your Marketing KPIs and Goals

With a clear picture of the priorities for the year ahead I’m able to review gaps in resources (budget and staff). Then I take a look at historic performance. How have our efforts performed over the past 12 to 24 months? What’s working? What’s not working? Where are the gaps?

For example, if the sales goals require doubling lead generation, then it’s time to request more resources, like more budget to hire an agency or full-time support.

*To figure out how many leads and MQLs marketing needs to drive in order to meet the company’s sales goals, I suggest using the calculator on the second sheet in the template.

Define the Themes or Areas of Focus

Defining, documenting, and sharing marketing’s themes will help to enroll your leadership team and your peers into your priorities for the upcoming year.

Themes should support the business goals and work to fill historic marketing gaps. I usually choose three. You know, because it’s the magic number 😜

Some examples of themes are:

  • Establish <Brand> as a trusted source of education and information

  • Shorten the sales cycle by nurturing prospects and improving sales enablement

  • Strengthen and leverage partner relationships to create more predictable revenue

Defining areas of focus ensures that you’re aligning marketing’s work with the business goals and provides a framework to prioritize your plan against.

Draft Your 2020 Plan

Using this template, your goals and your themes, you’re now ready to complete a draft of your 2020 plan.

Here’s how the template is set up:

  • Business Objectives. This is where your business’ goals should be documented to ensure that your marketing efforts are aligned and supporting leadership’s plans.

  • Operations. This area often gets overlooked, but as all marketers know, operations work requires lots of time and planning. Make sure to account for activities like content audits, site audits, systems assessments, marketing automation optimization, customer experience improvements, CRM clean up, etc.

  • KPIs. These are the goals that you set using the Marketing Forecasting Calculator (on the second sheet in the template) and any other goals that are worth elevating.

  • 2020 Focus. These are the themes that you’ve defined and across the year, the activities and initiatives that will support those themes.

Within the plan, I color-code my activities to see the distribution across the customer lifecycle stages - Attract, Engage, Delight and the audiences those stages focus on to make sure that the plan accounts for all areas of the lifecycle and all audiences.

Take a look at the template and let me know if you have questions!

As you fill out your first draft be sure to consider events or seasonal activities you know that you need to account for like user, industry conferences, or downtime that the industry experiences. For instance, we have a couple of clients that sell software to the wine industry. We account for the harvest season in the fall, when many winery staff are out in the fields and not spending their time buying new software. Instead during that time, we focus on developing our holiday programs and invest in customer marketing.

Share and Enroll

Once your plan is drafted, hold a meeting with your leadership team to present your priorities and goals for 2020 and get their feedback. It’s important to enroll members of your senior leadership, sales, product, and customer support to ensure that you’re not forgetting anything, expectations and priorities are agreed upon and that everyone is working toward similar goals.

I think that’s it! Let me know if you have other tried-and-true yearly planning recommendations.

Want Help? Let Us Know!

Fill out the form and we’ll follow up with you ASAP to see if our team can support your marketing planning!