5 Major League Plays Marketers Need to Make Now
Like an experienced major league general manager, you’ve planned your marketing budget late last year, set specific goals and began to execute. Even if COVID-19 hadn’t thrown the ultimate curve ball, it’s always a good idea to call a time out and take stock of where you’re sitting. Now that we’re half-way through 2020 and the game rules have been redrafted, it’s time to evaluate which plays are going to get the win for the second half of the year. As Marketers, it’s important that we win the inning, and the game, continually putting points on the board. In baseball terms, we’re in the bottom of the fifth inning. Pull out that playbook and take a good, hard look at the stats. Make the call about where the wins are coming from and where you need to make key substitutions – both offensively and defensively.
Here are five major league plays that Marketing teams should consider in the second half of the year.
1. Re-evaluate your game plan
As we are rounding the second half of the year, asking these tough questions will be critical to your end-game execution:
- Are your plans still relevant?
- Are there areas where you need to make adjustments to your messaging due to Covid?
- Is the pipeline contribution balanced correctly at the solution or regional level?
- Is your marketable database growing at the right pace?
No doubt, the global pandemic took us off track from the plan we initially established. The in-person events we planned were canceled, and other ways we had hoped to interact with customers didn’t materialize. Savvy marketers put on their rally caps and tried different tactics and new techniques. Take stock of what worked and what didn’t work and make predictions for what will be relevant in the second half of the year. I outlined ways Flexential embraced the change, in a recent blog, Marketing in the age of Covid.
2. Widen the bullpen
Look at who you have pitching. There is an inherent effort in Marketing to build and nurture relationships with your Sales counterparts. We haven’t always had that same type of focus on our partnership with the lines of business, those who own the P&L. Marketing leaders are constantly asked to take on more, to make game-time audibles and adjust the strategy. Our goal is to get to “yes” with our internal stakeholders. But we can’t always redirect resources without impacting the larger goals. This year, we decided to gather at the table with our lines of business owners, sharing the marketing roadmap, identifying areas of risk, and surfacing requests for unplanned projects. Collectively, we reprioritized the roadmap, stacked hands and resumed play.
This type of alignment brings the coaching team together to agree on where to use the limited resources and budget with joint responsibility.
3. Know your strike zone
Targeting has become more critical than ever as budgets tighten and segments that may have been part of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) are no longer ideal. Industry spending has dramatically changed over the last 120 days. Marketers win by being smart and deliberate in where to place dollars. Always keep your targets in sight and make sure you know where to aim to hit the strike zone.
4. It’s time to take score
What measurable goals did you set for the year? What type of reporting and transparency are you providing to show what’s working? Bring your partners in Sales and lines of business together to evaluate the results. Lack of transparency can lead to a lack of trust. Make sure you have a set of metrics for measuring progress and results. We set up a quarterly business review (QBR) for the lines of business, sharing where we excelled and where we could do better. And most importantly, we jointly aligned on what we will do differently based on learnings from the first half.
If things aren’t working as you anticipated, this is the time to make adjustments, not an all-out pivot, but tweaks to respond to how the market has reacted.
Listen to the numbers and let them inform your end-of-the-year strategy. Get everyone on the team to agree on the closing strategy to make sure you finish strong and put the most points on the scoreboard in the final innings.
5. Be bold and agile
I like to recruit the best athletes, and while each person on my team is hired into a specific role, I look for adaptable team members. While it’s essential to embrace the storm around us and be bold, one trait I find most valuable is agility – mental agility. If I’ve learned anything this year, the worst thing we can do when confronted with a significant challenge is to run from it. The companies that align across the enterprise, and have the agility to change with the market, are the ones that survive.
So, I leave you with this quote from Alex Rodriguez, “The more you play baseball, the less depends on your athletic ability. It’s a mental war more than anything.”
Here’s to closing the year with a win.
How are you aligning marketing with partners across your company? I’d enjoy hearing what’s working and what’s not. Play ball!