Increase conversions. Decrease acquisition cost. This is the constant push-pull for marketing teams. How do you grow the number of people who engage with your ads, while simultaneously lowering the money you spend to do so? And how do you optimize to ensure those folks turn into real paying customers? These are not easy questions. And the problem is that you are too busy buried in the day-to-day tactical work to deeply ponder the answers.
It is easy to get lost — busy working on programs and campaigns. So, how do you focus on making a real impact?
Recently I have been writing quite a bit about how roadmaps can help marketing teams. If you are not working off a roadmap today, I have a quick definition to help you — a roadmap is simply a visualization of your high-level strategy and the activities required to achieve those business objectives within a given time frame.
Putting together a strategically driven roadmap forces you to focus on what matters most.
I have also been speaking quite a bit with marketing teams at technology companies. These folks are looking to Aha! for help with defining goals and connecting planned work to those strategic imperatives. When it comes to online and digital marketing, I have heard that many marketing managers feel overwhelmed by the endless channels to pursue and data to analyze.
There is always something to do and the requests never end. But it is not clear how you can plan ahead, prioritize what will help grow the business, and report back on the results. What is clear is that many of you are not operating with a real plan.
How can you tell? Here are five signs:
Running in circles
A/B tests. SEO tracking. Ad spending. Everyone is working furiously on dozens of activities at a time. But to what end? There is no coordination between teammates and no clear strategy underneath all the busyness. You struggle to show real results and begin to wonder what you are even working towards.
Missing the pain
You have researched your target buyers and know basic demographic information. Yet you do not truly understand their struggles, motivations, and what sets them apart. Rather than offering tailored messaging to specific customer segments, you lump everyone into one general group — missing valuable opportunities to connect.
Another problem? You are not listening to what your customers want. You are so busy chasing the “new” that you ignore the channels your customers actually spend time on. Maybe you pay to put ads on the latest social media platform or use chatbots simply because they are trendy — not because they make sense for your brand.
Everything feels imbalanced. You might put all your online marketing efforts into updating the creative on your website, but neglect SEO and paid search. Since there is no way to visualize all of the marketing work by function, it is easy to overlook areas where your efforts are lopsided.
Sure, you pull lots of data. But you have not set KPIs to measure your progress, so you have no idea if your efforts are making any impact at all. You may be reporting a bit, especially at the beginning of a program, but you do not follow the patterns over time. As a result, you cannot determine if your work is actually leading to more paying customers.
The signals are clear — your team is working hard but needs structure and strategy.
First, you need to think carefully about the overall organizational and marketing objectives. Then align your activities with those goals and share the plan with the team. A roadmap will give you greater clarity — enabling you to reach more customers and build brand awareness.
Instead of needing glasses to see the big picture, you will have the 20/20 vision required to visualize both the details and the long-term strategy.
How do you make strategy the basis of your marketing plans?
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