Every year again. But this time with the “ideal” organization: This is how marketing planning succeeds in 2022

Every year again. But this time with the “ideal” organization: This is how marketing planning succeeds in 2022

Every year again. But this time with the “ideal” organization: This is how marketing planning succeeds in 2022 1920 1322 Melanie Krug

2022, that’s … right, the Year of the Tiger. At least that’s what it is in China. The tiger stands for energy, strength, determination, revolutionary ideas and much more. Four dimensions that are also emblematic of the setup of the right marketing organization. So why not make 2022 the year that the marketing organization gets an update to take advantage of the dynamics of the markets? Speaking of which: What does it look like, the “ideal” organization? What can we learn from other companies’ best practices and learning curves? That’s what this article is all about. How do we make the leap to the level of the agile, scaling, integrated marketing organization? Let’s take a look at what the tiger moments are for 2022.

Is your organization ready to compete in the digital economy?

The possibilities of modern economies are intoxicating. New creative (supposedly lucrative) business models are emerging almost every month. At the same time, the scenarios are becoming increasingly complex and the number of competitors is growing rather than shrinking. On the one hand, a high number of innovative offerings in a competitive market is a desirable driver of growth. On the other hand, from the perspective of the companies marketing such services, it is a real challenge. Their organizations are not always designed for it.

This is especially true for marketing. This area plays a central role, especially in highly dynamic markets. Here, the targeted communication of benefits, the right frequency, the (cross-media) use of the right marketing channels and, last but not least, close integration with sales are among the success factors. All this requires a precisely coordinated organization. One in which the setup, role allocation, planning processes, integrated cooperation and effective KPI management all fit together. Are coordinated with each other.

However, this is exactly the problem: Many companies are facing an update of their marketing and sales organization. One that takes into account the dynamics of digital economies. Let’s take a look at some practical transformation approaches for marketing.

The marketing setup

Marketing is a complex discipline. On the one hand, the strategic course is to be set; on the other hand, current topics must be taken up again and again and incorporated into concrete measures, which in turn contribute – even in the short term – to sales success. The right organizational structure is one of the basic prerequisites for success.

Depending on the level of development of the organization, various forms of integration are available, ranging from matrix organizations to classic line organizations. Both forms have advantages and disadvantages. While the matrix organization leads to a common agreement on goals, at least on paper, it is not always easy to manage in practice. The latter is somewhat easier with the line organization – however, long official channels can lead to loss of time, unnecessary burden on intermediate bodies and a lack of flexibility.

Whichever form is the most suitable setup – in any case, marketing competence should be disciplinarily bundled in one department, distributed among different roles and responsibilities. Perhaps 2022 will be the year in which you fundamentally consider the setup of your marketing? In line with this, we have compiled some best practices of successful marketing organizations. It starts with …

Roles and responsibilities. Tailor correctly to perform better.

Not all marketing is the same. Smart organizations differentiate the various roles within the department in different role profiles. An organization based on the division of labor increases effectiveness and ensures quality in both execution and communication. Relatively independent of the industry, the following structure has proven itself in recent years:

The product(marketing)

… is responsible for the go-to-market strategy, appropriate to the product. If there are several independent products, several product marketing managers can be appointed.

Product marketing (PM) is the interface between product development and campaign marketing – whereby a product can also be a service. Product marketing managers fine-tune the offer for the target groups in the target markets. In addition to orchestrating the classic three dimensions of product, pricing and provisioning, they are also responsible for product-related communications. As evangelists for their product, they use their knowledge to ensure that the right information is used in online stores and campaigns, for example.

This is a point that repeatedly leads to tensions in practice: As GTM owners, they bear responsibility for the key business figures – but they do not necessarily also define the campaign content or communication channels. At best, there are other resources for the task in the organization: campaign marketing (see below).

Product marketing is already widespread in many (including sales) organizations. Often, however, the focus is still too much on the development side. This too often leads to very feature-oriented measures. Not all customers can follow this. Product managers are allowed to be in love with their product, but they also have to share it with others. Perhaps the transformation moment of 2022 is also an adjustment of the direction of product marketing for more focus on customer needs?


The campaign marketing

Campaign managers (or sometimes field marketing managers) are experts in bringing supply and demand together. They know how the target market is structured, where the target groups can be found and how a campaign must be structured. Where and how to set the touchpoints for the target group. They make sure that all the information is ready and orchestrate the roll out of the campaign.

They are also the ones who pull together the campaign results and report back to product marketing. At best, the role comes with a mandate that includes end-to-end accountability. In other words, even if campaign management doesn’t take on the role of sales, colleagues:inside still make sure it’s clear what specific results a campaign has achieved.

Ideally, the campaign manager and product marketing manager should agree on the goals and measures together. In matrix organizations, this coordination is usually structurally anchored via a joint commitment setting. In any case, the process-related coordination of campaign and product management should be reviewed from time to time. Are the campaigns performing as desired? Have the agreed goals been achieved? Did the coordination with sales work? Campaign managers are a classic in the marketing organization, they can be found in almost every company.

Perhaps 2022 is a good time to address these questions with renewed energy? If so, then campaign management could also give an update from a campaign market perspective? Explaining what role AI/ML will play in marketing in the future and how this will give rise to new campaign ideas? What is becoming increasingly important, not only in the marketing of digital products & services, but also of consumer goods: an update on the classic analog marketing channels, such as via online channels (Google Ads, social media, etc.). This is where the channel experts come in.

The channel experts

You know the tools relevant for marketing out of the FF. This role usually requires a high technical or even technological affinity. Whether it’s search engine optimization, online store management, or the concerted playout of social media ads – extensive expertise is required here.

For good reason, employees in this area often have multiple certifications. Channel experts are not to be confused with an extended workbench – because they also advise campaign management with their knowledge and help to achieve the goals defined by product marketing. Channel marketing experts are also the ones who optimize campaign results in an iterative approach, conduct A/B testing, and so on.

Channel marketing experts do not always have to be based in a company. External expertise is often used for these tasks. This is perfectly understandable, but it also carries the risk that a significant part of the GTM strategy is implemented outside the company. This need not be a disadvantage per se, but it can mean that the all-important feedback channel is only weakly developed. This is where the campaign managers are called upon to coordinate the channel managers so that the defined GTM and campaign strategy is implemented operationally, e.g. with the help of regular exchanges, checks, discussions, and so on.

So what to do in 2022? Our suggestion: If the channel experts are located outside your own organization, they should still be involved in the planning process as early as possible. And if a major transformation of the marketing organization is planned, additional headcounts could be created precisely for such resources. After all, they are important contributors to the planning process.


The planning process

If you have followed our blog up to this point, then it is certainly clear that marketing is not a “Friday afternoon discipline” for us or a role that can be additionally managed by colleagues:in other departments.

This becomes clear at the latest when you take a look at the planning (although technically speaking, of course, planning is at the beginning of the marketing year). At this point, we therefore do not want to go into the fact that marketing is more the way to align a company with the needs of the markets than a leisure activity. Instead, we will focus on a particularly critical moment of success by looking at the planning process: The alignment of sales and marketing objectives.

In practice, a concerted approach has proven successful. Using a reversed funnel discussion, the goals of marketing and sales can be interwoven. In practice, it goes something like this: the planning of the management/C-Level first determines the specifications of the further planning in marketing.

In a joint session, a “reasonable” split is now determined – based on evidence or relevant theories. This refers to the shares for achieving the goals. What does sales contribute, and what share does marketing contribute? The split is a percentage figure from which the specific goals of the divisions can be derived. During such bilateral meetings, the criteria for such a handshake moment should also be discussed. At what point in the sales process does sales “take over” a sales opportunity? What qualitative criteria must be met?

But back to the planning table. In a further iteration step, the current pipeline is “pulled off”: Which sales opportunities are already being processed by Sales? Marketing, in turn, looks at the pipeline and determines the value of the leads already generated. Target minus current Sales pipeline minus leads in the Marketing pipeline yields the quantity and value of new opportunities to be generated. This provides an initial metric for both Sales and Marketing.

Through a reverse funnel calculation, the required number of opportunities, SQLs, MQLs, leads, visitors and impressions can be calculated on the basis of previous success figures from the target number of deals – individually and depending on the KPIs that you want to capture. In the following, the appropriate topics must be identified for the individual target groups (already in the sales pipeline, already in the marketing database, neither in one nor the other).

Again, done together is better than thought up alone. In a brainstorming session, the identified topics are assigned initial campaign ideas and perhaps also an initial time horizon. In practice, the following horizon has proven successful: Rough planning should be done on a yearly basis, and detailed planning should be done with a view to the following quarter. Firstly, things don’t always turn out the way you think they will, and secondly, this gives those involved the opportunity to incorporate their learnings directly into the following planning period over the course of the year.

What applies to the planning of goals and activities also applies to the integration of the resources of Sales AND Marketing. Roughly outlined at first, they become more and more concrete as the date approaches. In the end, this results in a plan that Sales and Marketing have worked out together, in which goals, activities, resources and budgets are recorded. Of course, the planned figures must be regularly compared with the actual figures as part of joint meetings. Agile methods for checking the achievement of objectives have become established for this purpose. A smart setup of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) gives the participants the necessary flexibility to achieve the agreed goals (Objectives) (Key Results).

And now the question of all questions: do all these tiger moments – the right setup, a timely role design, an integrative planning process automatically lead to success? Let’s put it this way: when a hungry tiger sets its sights firmly on its prey, it gets what it’s after 84% of the time. Why shouldn’t you be able to do the same?

Do you too also want to make 2022 the year your marketing organization gets an update to take full advantage of the dynamics of the markets? What exactly can your ideal marketing organization look like and how do you get to an agile, scaling, integrated organization? Find answers to these questions and best practices from our customer projects in this e-book (German).