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A practical table of contents for a streamlined go-to-market plan June 29, 2010

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Marketing Operations.
Tags: , , , , ,

Lately, I’ve been asked for recommendations for a streamlined go-to-market plan template.  This is a great request because I continue to see a lot of marketing teams get wrapped around the axle of a “10-step marketing plan” or some other beastly exercise.  Now, please don’t mis-understand me: marketing planning is a serious, critical, and worthwhile exercise.  Comprehensive planning exercises can be of great value.  Yet, sometimes, a short-cut is needed.

Here’s the punch line:

Table of Contents for a Streamlined Integrated Marketing Plan

  1. Marketing strategy overview
  2. Marketing objectives (With focus on the next 6 months)
  3. Target market prioritization (Prioritizing where the pro-active marketing investment will be)
  4. Personas (Creating an illustration of target buyers that we can empathize with)
  5. Positioning statement (Articulating our value and why we’re better than competing alternatives)
  6. Core messaging via “The Message Box(Crafting our story/elevator pitch)
  7. Identifying key content (Listing & prioritizing resources and deliverables that prospects will value)
  8. Marketing blueprint(s) (A flow chart of lead-gen activities and offers to engage prospects)
  9. Campaign calendar (A roadmap to guide execution)
  10. Budget estimate (For execution of identified blueprints)

Looking for more info?  Readers of the book can now download a  ** new! ** PDF of a streamlined marketing plan (visit the Marketing Campaign Development download page), complete with additional examples of personas, positioning statements, message box, and blueprints.  I share this for illustration purposes only.  Your mileage will differ, as the saying goes.

Don’t yet have the book?  No problem.  You can purchase the paperback here, or the eBook here.


1. satya - July 6, 2010

Nice article. I have a question. In a start-up kind of an environment, when do you do this planning? Is it when product is ready to be shipped or during initial phases?

In case during shipping, how early would this be done?

Thanks for sharing.

– satya

mgospe - July 6, 2010

Great question! It’s never to early to plan. In fact, if you wait until the product is ready to be shipped, you’ve likely missed some great opportunities. There are two types of planning that every company considers: 1) gathering product requirements information that will drive the product roadmap, and 2) architecting a go-to-market plan for the ultimate launch and ongoing marketing of the new product. The Table of Contents offered in this blog post is focused on (2), but let me add a few details about both.

Product Requirements Gathering and Roadmap Planning never stops. The companies that are most successful in the market achieve their success by always having their finger on the pulse of “what the customer cares about and why.” It’s tempting to let the engineers in the back room create a list of nifty features, but don’t let that alone replace the need for some real scenario planning based on understanding the prospects’ needs. Conduct a focus group of friendly customers and ask them about the problems they are trying to solve. Set a context (or use case) for how and when your solution can be used to resolve those problems. Ask for feedback and look at their actions and behavior. Requirements gathering and planning (usually) happens long before a launch plan is ever drafted.

Now let’s assume that the product is in production and the launch is only a matter of scheduling a date on the calendar. What’s the best way to take it to market? You’ll need a plan — preferably an integrated marketing plan that will help you figure out the optimum marketing communications mix (i.e. ads, press, tradeshows, banner ads, direct email). The planning process will also help you craft and hone a set of relevant messages that will engage your prospects in a dialog. (In other words, planning greatly reduces the risk that targeted prospects will ignore your product.) Today’s customers are very savvy; they will engage you on their terms, when they are ready. So, you’ll (likely) need a combination of “push” marketing tactics (e.g. your website, generating press releases, emailing your prospect data base). But this may not be enough. To find customers who don’t know you, you may want to consider some “pull” marketing tactics (likely syndication of your content/white papers on 3rd party websites — like Tech Target, or social media, blog postings, or other ways to showcase your “thought leadership” and promote your brand).

Planning is tricky because while there are unlimited possibilities, you have a limited budget and time. Producing a go-to-market plan helps tie all these pieces together so a company can market its wares with consistency of messaging and confidence in engaging prospects on a topic prospects will care about.

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