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Prepare yourself for a successful 2017!

Blog post Published   26 August 2016

This time of the year is special for many marketing departments. The financial year 2016 is about to end and the planning for 2017 is about to start. It is an intense period where you have to plan the future and at the same time close the current projects, submit project reports, launch new projects and make sure suppliers deliver their invoices on time. Whether you are planning for Q1 or the whole of 2017, make sure the planning tasks are as easy as possible.

Start-ups and smaller companies usually handle their planning and budget process by using spreadsheets, while medium and large companies, sooner or later turns to technology support to better manage and control their market planning and budgeting. Maybe you already have a system in place or perhaps its about to acquire one? One thing is clear, there is a endless line of vendors that will try to convince you that their type of technology is best suited for you, Marketing resource management systems, project management tools or perhaps the planning module of a marketing automation or campaign management tool.

Whether you are using spreadsheets or have a tool that is supposed to support your planning and budgeting, here are a few areas that should be reviewed before you start planning and budgeting for the future:

– Find a activity structure that works for you
Start by doing a review of how projects and campaigns can be grouped. Use your existing programs or current organizational structure to get started, but keep on open mind. Think you already have a structure in place? Challenge your current structure, does it really mirror the way your teams work and operate?

Find an activity hierarchy to use within each plan
Ask your colleagues how they are planning their projects/campaigns, are they only planning on a high level or are they breaking down their projects/campaign into multiple levels? How many levels? Is there a need to attach a budget to each level of a project or campaign? Listen to your colleagues and adjust to their needs, but keep in mind that you cant or won’t please every single person.

• If at any point you intend to integrate with your financial system in order to track actuals per campaign/project. Schedule a meeting with a business controller and an IT person to discuss your hierarchy suggestion and how it aligns with how the financial data changes over time and is stored within you IT department.

– Setup qualitative follow-up & reports
Ask campaign managers and projects owners what data they want to connect to each planning level. Align their input with management requirements, that will get you started in terms of figuring out which data that needs to be tied to each planning level and what content that needs to be in reports.

– Do dry-runs
Test, adjust, get acceptance, repeat. Involve colleagues from different teams and have them plan a campaign or a project and generate reports, listen to their input and adjust but remember, you won’t please everybody.

While the fiscal year of 2016 is about to end, the summer Olympics in Rio has just ended and a cliché from the sports world is “failure to prepare is preparing to fail”. How campaigns and projects should be planned is a task that also needs preparation. To plan exactly the same way as last time will not give you a better result.

Evaluate, improve, prepare and make sure that the next planning session is better than the last one, continuous improvement will make you a master of planning, give you control of you budget and have you prepared for a successful 2017.

 

Robert Hellerstedt
Marketing Consultant at Recoordinate

Recoordinate helps marketing- and communications teams to improve their internal efficiency and get a better ROI by developing and improving internal processes. Read more at our website www.recoordinate.com or contact us at info@recoordinate.com

 

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