STEP 10. PLAYBOOK & ROADMAP
Congratulations, you have now reached the final step in your marketing planning process. You already have most of the answers you need. You’ve clarified your business goals, sifted through your internal knowledge, gathered whatever else is out there, filled the gaps in the picture, reviewed the competition, studied your consumers, articulated your strategy, and selected the best tactics. Along the way you’ve discovered consumer insights that will help set your brand apart, you’ve learned how to improve your customer experience, and you’ve uncovered product and service opportunities. All of this is for naught, however, if you don’t execute well.
As Jim Collins showed empirically in Good to Great, you don’t get success without the ability to execute really well. But anybody running a business already knows that and struggles with it every day; it’s no different for marketing.
ALL THE GREAT PLANNING IN THE WORLD WILL NOT AMOUNT TO MUCH IF IT ISN’T TRANSLATED INTO ACTION. THAT’S WHY THE FINAL OUTPUT OF YOUR PLANNING PROCESS IS NOT A STRATEGY DOCUMENT, BUT A PLAYBOOK.
The Playbook provides the step-by-step game-plan for executing your medium term marketing strategy. It’s the execution guide that everyone involved will follow. It prioritizes tactics, provides an outline of each, a timeline, estimated cost, how they will be measured, projected performance, internal responsibilities, company resources required, and what’s needed from agencies or other key vendors.
THE PLAYBOOK IS DESIGNED TO BE SHARED WITH ALL INVOLVED AND KEY STAKEHOLDERS, SO EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN, WHEN AND WHY.
It’s the yellow brick road they follow to get your medium term marketing objectives accomplished. It’s not only how you keep everyone on the same page, but an important piece in the general effort to shift company culture to a consumer focus. Most Playbooks should look at no more than a 1-2 year period. With consumer behavior, technology, and the competition changing so rapidly, it’s essential to be able to react and adapt very quickly. That’s why revisiting the inputs to your strategic planning at least once a year is important, if you want to avoid nasty surprises.
The Playbook also incorporates a summary of your strategy, including your personas, to remind everyone involved in execution what the mission is and who you are talking to. Teams use it to guide their tactical efforts and cross reference it with the findings from the Content Strategy and the Channel Strategy.
As we will see in Chapter 7. Build the System, in order for you to create a marketing system, you have to put pieces of technology and content infrastructure in place. This may take more time than you have before you need to see results. So as part of your final planning output you need to develop a Roadmap that sets your course for the long term.
Your Roadmap has a longer time horizon than your Playbook. It lays out the step-by-step process of putting in place the pieces of your marketing system over the longterm. This includes all the technology and content infrastructure you will need, as well as things like developing a consumer database and achieving brand preference, which don’t happen overnight. Like Rome, it’s not built in a day. Instead, like any good city planner, you start with a vision of how you want the city to look and work when it finally all comes together, and show the steps it’s going to take to get there.
With your Playbook and Roadmap completed, you have articulated a long term marketing vision and a medium term action plan. These are based on the evidence you have gathered. Those inputs will be good for a while, but it’s smart to check them at least every year or more frequently. This means going through the ten steps outlined above to see if any of your assumptions or inputs might be based on out-of-date information, to see if consumer behavior has changed, or if the competition has evolved in a significant way. Some of this your teams will pick up in the ordinary course of business, but a regular formal review and health check of your marketing plan is essential in a fast-changing world.
A REGULAR FORMAL REVIEW AND HEALTH CHECK OF YOUR MARKETING PLAN IS ESSENTIAL IN A FAST-CHANGING WORLD.
The Playbook is also a very good budgeting tool. It already has buy-in from many levels and areas of your organization, and it breaks down what you are going to spend and when you are going to spend it. The associated Roadmap also outlines what infrastructure you will need to support the Playbook and estimated costs. This might be a new website for example. However much of this infrastructure is usually classified as a capital expense, which can relieve some pressure on your marketing budget.