Completing the Annual Planning Process

Imagine an office without a desk, or lights, a computer, or even something as simple as a chair. When the architects and designers started planning a building or office space they knew they would have to make concessions for these items during each of the building activities. As marketers, we take part in many activities, much like a builder or designer does.

Of these activities, there is one that precludes each of these; the annual planning and budgeting process. One part of planning often gets left out though, measuring the effectiveness of the activities we plan. Yet plans without metrics are like offices without chairs, conference rooms without tables, or buildings without a foundation. Parts of each exist, but there is a major component missing.

Recently surveys have concluded that 55% of business to business marketing executives face the challenge of measuring marketing's effectiveness. A recent survey conducted by Unica made this statement: "However, survey respondents also said they faced numerous challenges, chief among them measuring marketing effectiveness, which was cited by 55% of respondents." It was also stated that many executives don't believe marketing is measurable. And 63% of them don't consider marketing to be measurable. So it should be no surprise to learn that as many as 57% of marketing plans overlook metrics and that plans are more about counting activities rather than measuring the impact on business outcomes as was determined the fifth Business Readiness Survey conducted by VisionEdge Marketing.

Can we measure marketing's effectiveness? Does it really make a difference?

It certainly does for many companies. One company in particular, VCON, found incorporating a metrics framework into their planning process to be extremely valuable. Founded in 1994, VCON develops and manufactures collaborative communication solutions that include videoconferencing and audio conferencing products. VCON's entire portfolio is integrated together with a suite of management systems and development tools, providing a unique and fully integrated conferencing experience for the user. The company relies on an indirect channel to sell their solutions worldwide. For the past decade, VCON has consistently been the first to market with innovative products and technologies, both in the conferencing market and in the solutions needed to manage and deploy conferencing systems.

The marketing team realized that securing a larger marketing budget would require taking a more metrics-related approach as a means to demonstrate the marketing organization's contribution to the company. So when they realized the need for a metrics-based approach, they hired VisionEdge Marketing to help them develop the right set of metrics. VCON turned to an outside resource to help create a framework for their plan. They chose VisionEdge Marketing because the company's metrics expertise and a model ties marketing metrics to the goals of the company.

Laura Shay, VCON's Global Product Marketing Manager, wanted an approach that went beyond tracking results from a variety of marketing activities, such as metrics associated with web site visits, click-throughs, and participants at a webinar. Rather she wanted a way to connect the marketing initiatives to the company's market share, partner development, and up-sell objectives. "We had a good idea of the adoption process for our technology and we were monitoring dozens of activities and outcomes. What we didn't know was whether these were the right things to be monitoring and how to tie activity tracking to the success of our marketing objectives and strategies," added Laura.

VCON's limited marketing resources were overwhelmed with the number of things that were possible to track. The challenge was getting the team out of the weeds of tracking various marcom activities and more focused on identifying metrics that would really indicate whether the marketing initiatives were moving the needle for the business.

Prior to the metrics development and framework session, VisionEdge Marketing examined the metrics currently being used by the company and the company's business objectives for the coming year. "This preparatory stage was very helpful," commented Laura. "It enabled us to start thinking about tying our marketing initiatives to very specific business outcomes such as market share, order value, and repeat business." The business goals were used as a framework for the plan. By understanding the specific business outcomes, the session could focus on where marketing could make an impact and how to measure this impact. Within a half day or so the marketing department was able to develop a manageable set of metrics. A key part of the process was to clarify what outcomes have real impact on the business.

The metrics focused on two primary areas: The channel's role in VCON's success, and a goal of achieving 25% quarter-to-quarter growth from new products across all sales regions. Three metrics were selected: revenue/partner, qualified leads/region, and new products sold vs. previous product sold. Key indicators were defined for each of these and appropriate objectives and strategies were then incorporated into the annual plan. A side benefit was that the planning session was far more productive. "We didn't get bogged down in discussing the nuances of each region and why tracking certain activities would or wouldn't work. We could keep our eye on the larger picture and each region could address its individual differences," added Laura.

The process enabled the VCON team to achieve two important outcomes:

1. A set of key metrics that crossed markets and regions

2. A plan and budget the management team could evaluate based on business outcomes

Of course the best outcome was the team was able to deliver a plan and a budget request the management team could relate to. "We were more successful in securing faster approval and a better budget, because the plan very clearly connected the dots between marcom activities and business outcomes," said Laura.

VCON has learned the importance of a complete marketing plan and have already reaped the benefits by securing a higher marketing budget. They have learned the importance and ability of metrics to measure the effectiveness of marketing to show how their efforts impact business goals.

Since working with VCON, VisionEdge Marketing has continued to educate companies and individuals on the importance of metrics to a marketing plan and communicating marketing's effectiveness to the company. By using VCON as an example, they are able to show how completing the planning process pays off for the company, as well as the marketing department; just as adding all components to a building, makes it complete.

To learn more about strategic metrics that align marketing with business goals, check out VisionEdge Marketing's latest book, Measure What Matters by Laura Patterson, President of VisionEdge Marketing.

VisionEdge Marketing is a strategic marketing consulting firm that helps organizations develop metrics-based marketing strategies and processes that create a competitive advantage designed to attract, secure and retain profitable customers to maximize the value of the organization.

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Deadline

MGM Names Ted Lim Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning
Deadline
“Ted's specialized background in strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions and integration makes him an essential addition to our management team as MGM embarks on an aggressive and innovative growth strategy,” Brearton said in a statement. Lim most ...
MGM Names Ted Lim to Senior VP Strategic PlanningHollywood Reporter
MGM Names Lim SVP Strategic Planning, Corporate DevelopmentMultichannel News
MGM Hires Veteran Participant Media Executive Ted LimVariety

all 4 news articles »

TAPinto.net

Library System Embarking on New Strategic Planning Process for 2018
TAPinto.net
BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Library System is ready to embark on a process to improve experiences for its patrons. With the most recent strategic plan having been completed in 2017, the system is preparing to create a new one. “It's time for ...


College Heights Herald

Strategic plan draft for 2018 to 2028 released
College Heights Herald
A draft of the strategic plan for WKU for 2018 to 2028 has been released in an email to students, faculty and staff. The plan was created over the last year, with six working groups meeting throughout the year and several forums held for public input ...


CUinsight.com (press release)

Three key attributes a strategic planning facilitator offers
CUinsight.com (press release)
For most progressive-thinking banks and credit unions, strategic planning is a critical season of the year. A big investment in time, resources, bandwidth and money is made in this critical process. The decisions made (and not made) at your strategic ...


The Gulf News

CNA holding workshop series to help develop new strategic plan ...
The Gulf News
STEPHENVILLE, NL – College of the North Atlantic (CNA) is hosting a series of workshops in the province to prepare and deliver a five-year strategic plan for 2019-2024. The first workshop will be held at the Bay St. George campus in.
CNA holding workshop series to help develop new strategic planThe Packet

all 1 news articles »

Radio magazine

SBE Schedules June 9 Strategic Planning Meeting
Radio magazine
INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Broadcast Engineers has scheduled a daylong strategic planning meeting for June 9 in Indianapolis, preceded by a welcome reception on June 8. The event is open to all SBE chapter chairs and will also be attended by ...


WIU Faculty Senate endorses 10 year strategic plan - News - The ...
McDonough Voice
MACOMB – On Tuesday the Western Illinois Faculty Senate voted to endorse the Higher Values in Higher Education 2017-2027 strategic plan for the university.Vice President for Quad Cities and Planning Dr. Joe Rives participated in the discussion through ...

and more »

ValdostaToday.com

UGA Small Business Development Center Offers Strategic Planning Workshop
ValdostaToday.com
Valdosta State University Press Release: VALDOSTA — The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center at Valdosta State University will present a Strategic Planning Workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8. Registration is $69 per ...


Creswell Chronicle

Lane County adopts three-year strategic plan
Creswell Chronicle
The Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a new strategic plan (2018-2021) that will focus the work of Lane County into four priority areas during the next three years: safe, healthy county; vibrant communities; robust infrastructure ...


Herald & Review

Decatur school leaders: Strategic plan offers hope in face of bleak enrollment forecast
Herald & Review
DECATUR — Despite a bleak forecast provided to the Decatur Board of Education regarding enrollment numbers Tuesday, board members are hopeful that a new strategic plan will help reverse the trend. The board received a progress update on the strategic ...

Google News

Three Easy Ways To Know Thy Competitor

"Did you hear what your competitor is doing?" This question... Read More

Mastermind Your Way to Success

What do Mark Victor Hansen, Robert Allen, Anthony Robbins, Andrew... Read More

Five Crucial Components of a Business Plan

The format of a Business Plan is something that has... Read More

The Top Five Reasons Strategic Plans Fail

"Most great plans aren't. They are just nice, high-level ideas."That's... Read More

Mining Market Data

With a heightened awareness of opportunity, ideas can often be... Read More

Nine Succession Planning Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid

1. Attempt Succession Planning Without Other Strategic Plans. Succession plans... Read More

Site Selection and Demographic Tips for Establishing Outlets

Many cities have home pages on the Internet. Many of... Read More

5 Strategies That Will Boost Your Business Productivity Today! - Part 1

Building a dynamic small business is a constantly evolving, increasingly... Read More

More Uses for Your Business Plan

You have invested a lot of time and energy on... Read More

Akron OH; A great place to do business

When looking at Akron carefully one cannot help but notice... Read More

Don?t Just Talk About the Weather, Use It to Advantage

A well known, national chain of restaurants discovered that certain... Read More

Strategy Without Tactics is Futile

From time to time there seems to be a flurry... Read More

Three Steps to Give Your Strategic Plan Traction

We all agree Strategic Planning is a critical part of... Read More

Business Plan Financial Projections: Stop Worrying About Being Right...

Business plan financial projections seem daunting because they are so... Read More

Don?t Allow Yourself to Get Burned

I am not a big fisherman, but I do enjoy... Read More

The Power of Strategic Thinking: Creating Meaningful Success

Too much goal setting and strategic planning can leave you... Read More

How Copying the HBO Schedule Can Boost Your Business

I'm not talking about posting the HBO schedule on your... Read More

Call in the SWOT Team: Produce More Opportunities to Expand Your Business

Have you ever done a SWOT analysis? No, it's not... Read More

Corporate Venturing For Emerging Growth Companies

The boom of the dot-com era in 1999 brought the... Read More

Turning On The Lights

Fun From The StartFor those with the will to start... Read More

Insurance Requirements in Franchised Companies

Franchised companies often require what some believe to be excessive... Read More

Strategic Planning Consulting

Strategic planning and consulting is the strategy roadmap to manage... Read More

Abstract Thought; Business Strategies and Biological Systems

To stop a computer virus you must understand how it... Read More

How to Start A Business Plan

A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals,... Read More

Succession Planning: Problems Getting Started

A survey released by the American Institute of Certified Public... Read More