Translating your strategy into an actionable plan means breaking it into specific tasks. This exercise is essential because it forces you to focus on the details.
In particular, it allows you to more accurately assess how much effort and resource (financial, human, etc.) you will need to invest in implementing your plan.
Define the Structure of Your Activity Plan
Before listing all your activities, start by naming each column of your spreadsheet.
To avoid confusion, put a little information into each activity:
One or more goals.
One or more key performance indicators (KPIs).
The person responsible for this activity.
So your column headings might look like this:
Once you create the structure for your activity plan, it's time to fill it in, which is where the real work begins, and the magic happens. Row by row, column by column, you'll have to ask yourself all the right questions.
It allows you to:
Take a critical look at the relevance of each activity you had planned in the promotion section of your marketing mix.
Identify any relevant new activity.
Ask yourself how to best track your activity's performance.
Clarify who's responsible for implementing each activity.
Estimate the financial cost of your plan.
I'll now show you how I would complete the table. Try to re-create and complete the table by yourself. If you get stuck, you can look at mine.
List Your Activities in a Reverse Timeline
In the previous chapter, we created the Mimine marketing mix. From this, you should already be able to evaluate the marketing techniques that Mimine could use.
Do I have to list my activity in chronological order?
You could, if they are time-sensitive, but in digital marketing, this is rarely the case. Some of your activities will be recurring (sending a regular newsletter) or even ongoing (community management). Listing these in chronological order doesn't make sense.
To ensure that your action plan is timely, create a reverse timeline. This sort of marketing method will serve as a roadmap as you execute your plan.
Define the Operational Goals
The goals for the first half of the year will be to:
Raise €5,000 during the crowdfunding campaign.
Open distribution channels.
Start acquiring customers.
During the second half of the year, once all of distribution channels are open, efforts can focus on:
Developing brand recognition.
Acquiring new customers.
Retaining past customers.
Track the Performance of Your Activity With KPIs
KPI is an acronym for key performance indicators. When you associate your KPIs with your goal, they allow you to monitor and evaluate your activity's performance.
KPIs - Indicators to Monitor the Performance of Your Actions
What KPIs should I monitor?
Some KPIs are almost universal: you'll find them in most marketing plans. Digital marketing emphasizes them even more since performance is so essential.
Revenue vs. marketing expenses (ROI = return on investment).
Sources of website traffic.
The cost of acquiring a visitor.
The average conversion rate.
The cost of acquiring a customer.
The average basket (cart).
The time spent on the site.
Position in search engines for different keywords.
Others may be more specific to the business sector or the company's economic model.
A nonprofit organization might not care about a customer acquisition cost but will look very closely at donor income. If they create petitions, the focus will be on the number of signatures rather than new customers.
The goal of a public organization may be to share information. The metric for time spent on-site may be more critical to a commercial enterprise. A news website seeks to maximize the time spent on its site (often to sell more advertising); a government site hopes to reduce time spent by being more efficient, so you can find the information you are looking for as quickly as possible).
For Mimine, the identified KPIs are classical elements of e-commerce.
During a campaign, you will monitor the performance of your actions daily using a dashboard that shows your main KPIs. It'll give you a real-time view of your campaigns, guiding your decision-making and reporting.
Do I have to create and supply my own dashboard by hand?
Several applications automate data collection and calculate the most common KPIs for you, like Google Analytics (found here). Many digital marketing tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and your CRM (i.e., Mailchimp) have their own dashboards. If you don't have a place to centralize everything, you might have to monitor a couple of different dashboards.
These are great solutions for web analytics, but they won't do all the work for you. Some of your KPIs (often the most important ones) fall more under business analytics than web analytics, and you'll have to calculate them yourself.
Allocate Resources for Each Marketing Activity
Setting up a reverse timeline is not enough to ensure that everything gets done. You must allocate resources for management and budget.
To know who's accountable for doing what, you'll assign someone to be responsible for each task.
Who Should Do What?
You will also have to estimate how much money you'll need for each of these activities. There are different ways to define a marketing budget:
You get a fixed budget, and you can spend it as you wish.
You receive a variable budget, often expressed as a percentage of revenue, and modify your activity accordingly.
You define your activity plan, calculate the necessary funding, and submit a request to the decision-maker.
Since Mimine is a start-up, Arthur and Zoë limit how much money they want to spend. The best thing for them to do is start with a fixed budget for the launch and then transition to a variable budget as the revenue grows.
Mimine's Annual Marketing Budget
Q1 - January, February, and March
During the crowdfunding campaign, Mimine has just two expenses. The first is for a presentation video and the second for product presentation photos. These graphic resources will convince donors using Kickstarter to back their venture. They can also be re-used later on the Etsy site, at mimine.com, or in content marketing.
After requesting a few quotes, they allocate a marketing budget of €1,250 for the first three months.
Beyond that, in these early days, you'll make do with unpaid marketing actions.
Q2 - April, May, and June
During the three months following the crowdfunding campaign, you will list Mimine products on Etsy. Remember, the platform charges a 3.5% commission on each sale, which counts as a variable marketing expense. You will also budget €500 to promote sales on Etsy directly.
At the end of the 4th month, you should know whether you should create an online store. If you decide to use an agency, you can budget €10,000 for the service. You will have to pay a 25% deposit when they sign the contract,€2,500 (Q2), and the €7,500 balance when the site goes live (Q3).
At this point, you'll want to send more emails than the free Mailchimp version allows. To upgrade to the paid version, you'll add €30 to your Q2 marketing budget.
Q3 - July, August, and September
In the second half of the year, the mimine.com store will be online. At launch, the store may not have the brand awareness to attract enough traffic on its own. To capture 10% of the market and reach €200,000 in revenue, you'll have to invest aggressively. You will use online advertising to establish your presence and capture market share.
Q4 - October, November, and December
Depending on the sector, your company's sales volume can vary from one period to another, called the commercial activity seasonality. Some retailers report as much as half their year's sales in the fourth quarter.
The competition, Little Woude, touts their scalable children's clothing as a great gift idea. Based on this, you can conclude that the peak commercial activity will be in December when the French give the most gifts.
For Mimine clothes to be invited to the Christmas party, you'll use your heavy artillery throughout December. On the program:
An infomercial (advertising disguised as an article) in Elle magazine to reach your target audience.
Buy a database of parents with children between 2 and 7 years old. Certain companies specialize in prospecting by SMS or email. They allow you to reach consumers who are not in your database.
Implement CRM software such as HubSpot (found here) to automate customer relationship management for your e-commerce store.
Mimine's Marketing Activity Plan
A marketing plan is not a crystal ball. It's doesn't guarantee that everything will turn out; however, it allows you to give yourself the best chance at success.
Here's the Mimine activity plan for you to download and view.
Arthur and Zoë's marketing approach is now structured. All you have to do is execute it and revise it using a test - learn - refine process. After a few months of implementation, their strategy will change, at least somewhat. Why not entirely? Who knows?
Maybe they'll reach their revenue goal after six months, or it will take two years to achieve.
Possibly their sewing tutorials will be more successful than the rest, and they'll end up selling kits to allow parents to sew their children's clothes by themselves.
Perhaps most of their orders will not come from France, and they will make their online store international.
In this chapter, you have turned a strategy into an actionable plan. You learned that:
You have to create a document (spreadsheet or text) to group and track your marketing activity.
You can use a reverse timeline to coordinate efforts for each campaign.
You're going to need to define the operational goals to know what results you can expect.
Then, you can set up a performance measurement system around key performance indicators (KPIs).
Allocate the resources necessary for each activity's success, including a person in charge and a precise budget.
Now that you know how to define and plan your marketing strategy, you'll now learn how to execute it. To be fully operational, you'll have to learn the various marketing specialties (email, online advertising, community management, etc.).
In the next part, you'll learn about digital marketing's operational aspects so you can achieve the best possible results. This information will be useful regardless of which specialties you choose to explore later.
Before you get there, though, it's time to test what you've learned with another quiz. Good luck!