The 12-month marketing cycle is all the rage, but times have changed. Business has accelerated thanks to the internet, and marketing needs to keep up. While there's value in looking at your marketing plan's long view over the year, it's time to explore the 30-day cycle and its benefits.
Here's how you can leverage our proven 30-day inbound marketing cycle to drive revenue, push adjustments in the short term and deliver value. Let's take a look.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Good marketers get ahead of opportunities, and that ability happens because of data. We've got more data than ever before and can process it to deliver valuable, real-time insights.
When you think about marketing as an Agile sprint, you don't have time to get behind. You've strategized, planned, implemented, analyzed and adjusted an entire campaign. You can continually focus on what's working and drop what isn't.
So how do you get to a proactive marketing stance? By utilizing these five strategies to your advantage.
Everyone in your organization must be data literate. We're able to ingest and process data at such a rate that gut feelings and perceptions aren't necessary anymore. We can look at the data to find out immediately what's working and what isn't.
For example, you launched a cross-selling email campaign last month. Did it convert more of your customers than your social media campaign? Did more action happen with the long-form email or the short? Which customer segment responded with the greatest enthusiasm for this particular campaign?
A 12-month plan doesn't give you time to adjust your budgets, but a 30-day plan allows you to tweak the budget each month to hit your goals without wasting money. When you pivot quickly, you're able to drive your results without impacting the budget as dramatically.
Connect Your Short And Long Term Visions
We aren't asking you to abandon the 12-month plan or those 12-month initiatives. Instead, look at your long term visions as if it were broken up into short sprints. If you have a big event happening in October and it's only January, that gives you ten months of sprints to build to that event.
One of your tasks is to look at the entire year and begin delegating tasks based on the sprints. You'll likely announce your event in August and have a promotion around that same time. In September, you'll do a bit more publicity and maybe reveal a surprise guest or announcement. In October, you'll go all out to ensure your audience is ready.
Once you get the hang of thinking in terms of sprints, it becomes easier to tie your sprints to long term events. You may even find it's easier to stay on track.
Improve Your Company Strategy
It's not just marketing that benefits from these shorter sprints. Overall, company strategy can pivot as well based on the latest data and past iterations. If you plan a product launch a year ahead and no one responds, you've likely felt the pain of a slow company strategy.
Overlay a 90-day company strategy to become more informed about potential market trends and changes in audience and customer behavior or needs. Again, the data informs these decisions, allowing you to use the sprints to the company's best advantage.
Use The Budget To Your Advantage
12-month budgets don't account for hiccups. With a 30 day sprint, you can adjust your tactics based on your budget numbers for less waste and more impact. In 30 days, you'll know:
- What doesn't work, allowing you to shut it down and save money
- What does work, helping you shift your budget to these actions for a higher return
- What experiment is happening so that your budget expands accordingly
Using this 30-day plan, the first priority is tactics that drive the highest value and return rate with the least amount of effort. Then, add in any experiments or innovations, plus activities that will boost results. Make a plan to analyze these based on agreed benchmarks so that you know what works by the end of the sprint.
Your most important work will have priority, and you'll have enough budget and capacity to experiment a little to find new tactics that move the needle. Plus, it keeps results at the forefront of everything you do.
Document Your Tactics
You can't always act on an idea as you have it. Sometimes, your current task takes precedence. Instead of losing those ideas, you need to implement a tactic backlog where all ideas go.
Once a month at the end of your 30-day cycle, groom the tactic backlog to find the good ideas and delete the not so good ideas. Then, you have a reliable idea pipeline for all your next iterations.
Since marketing tends to be opportunistic, this gives you the chance to follow the plan and to record any ideas for the next opportunity to act. It's the best of both worlds.
Start On Your 30-day Sprint Today
This approach is more comfortable to implement because you can see fairly quickly what you can do in 30 days. It's quick, data-driven and narrow. You'll have to adopt a prioritization method to allow you to get things done, but fortunately, you'll also be able to pivot to drive results.
So ask yourself, what's the biggest thing you can do to move the needle with the smallest amount of effort and start there.