What is in your marketing plan? I would guess that you have goals, activities, and dates. These are the basic elements of any marketing roadmap. You create a visualization of your marketing strategy, the work required to achieve it, and when you plan to tackle it. Because it organizes all this information in one place, the roadmap is an incredibly useful tool to clarify and communicate the team’s direction.
But putting a roadmap together is just the first step. You also need to know how to present it.
Your roadmap likely includes activities that impact several cross-functional groups. And if you cannot explain to each group how their contributions will support the overall company goals, you will not get very far. So you need to be able to clearly and succinctly communicate the marketing plan to align everyone around what is happening and when.
Of course, your immediate marketing team should already be familiar with the plan (and working towards it daily). But there will be times when you need to formally present it to folks outside of marketing. For example, you might give a presentation to share what marketing is working on. You may present to executives and advisory boards or other teams within your organization, such as product, sales, customer support, or IT.
It seems obvious, but folks who are not part of the core marketing team usually have the least context for what you are planning.
You cannot assume that they understand how discrete marketing efforts fit into the rest of the work the organization is doing. And since marketing often (wrongly) comes with a dismissive brush-off of “those are the words and pictures people,” building a compelling and relevant presentation is critical to showing how your group is making a real impact on the business.
Every company is different. But I have more than 20 years of experience working with outstanding product and marketing teams. So I have a good sense of the guidance most marketing folks can benefit from when building a presentation for teammates outside of marketing. Here is how:
Know the strategy
Beginning with strategy grounds the presentation in what matters most. Before diving into the details of your plans, prepare a high-level summary of the marketing goals and initiatives — and how these support the organizational objectives and will grow the business. This is especially important if you are presenting to the leadership team.
Revisit the research
You already scrutinized the market, customers, and competitors when you first built out your marketing roadmap. But it is a good idea to refer back to your market research once more. Review the customer demographics and buyer personas so that the relevant information is top of mind. This will help you answer any questions that come up during the presentation.
Understand the audience
You need to communicate different information depending on who your audience is — executives, other cross-functional leaders, or external partners. This is where having multiple roadmap views is incredibly useful. You can choose to highlight only what your specific audience needs to understand — avoiding unnecessary details that would only distract from your core message.
Define the flow
Now it is time to arrange all of the above in a logical order. Consider the best way to walk through the concepts you want to hit on. Your primary goal should be for the audience to quickly understand what you are saying and for each slide to have momentum — telling a story in a clear way.
Consider the visuals
This is marketing — words and pictures, right? So make sure your presentation looks and sounds good! Show visuals where you can to keep the audience engaged and convey complex information. For example, you can pull out core concepts as title headers and color-code views to show the status of work in progress.
Anticipate the feedback
Your presentation is not a directive. Be receptive to others’ opinions and prepared to address any questions that arise. Notice people’s reactions and break for conversation if you notice a skeptical look. The roadmap is iterative and your presentation is an opportunity to hear (and implement) helpful feedback. If you are not sure how to evaluate an idea or request on the spot, write it down and follow up quickly after the meeting.
Sharing the direction the team is headed and getting everyone excited about where you are going is an opportunity — seize it.
It will take time and hard work to prepare for your presentation, but remember to have fun along the way. After all, you want to convey your enthusiasm and get others invested too. So do not be afraid to add your own personality and to smile (at least once).
How do you prepare to present your marketing plans?
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