Tools of the TradeBefore you start any marketing activity, you need to properly plan it. That probably goes without saying, but even large companies we work with don’t formally do it.

We’ve found that the best way to strategically plan your marketing activities is to actually document them. What kinds of information should you think about when planning your next marketing activity? Enter the “Marketing Activity Planner,” which is a short, 1-page document that boils your marketing activity down to brass tacks. Below, you'll find a link to download your copy of our Marketing Activity Planner template, but first, here’s what we include on ours.

Activity specifics

You should list the offer, the campaign that the activity belongs to, the channel (social media, email, PPC, etc.), the start and end date, and the budget if applicable. This pertinent information helps you remember the specific campaign and dates the activity ran so you can refer back to the planner at a later date.

Target audience

Remember your customer personas that you developed? You should decide which of your customer personas you want to target with your marketing activity and which pain points you want to address with the offer. If you’re advertising with Facebook or LinkedIn, you may even want to document what age ranges, industries, interests, job titles, etc. you want to focus on.

Expected end-result or goal

What desired actions will visitors take as a result of your marketing activity? Do you want to build brand awareness for your company? Generate leads or sales? Add blog subscribers? Build a fan base or LinkedIn connections? Whatever the purpose, you should state the specific purpose here. The more specific, the better.

Measures of success

It’s critical to know exactly how you’re going to measure success of your marketing activity. What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your activity? You should set some specific, realistic goals so you can measure performance of the activity once it’s run its course. We typically use measures like conversion rate, cost per lead/sale, and total leads/sales.

All of this information should fit on one sheet of paper, and you can print this off and get sign-off from your CEO, CMO or marketing VP so you’re all on the same page.

As a bonus, you may want to include a section where you list actual results on the document so you can circle back and report results. This may include ad copy, a screenshot of the ad or email, or campaign creative. Because you already determined how you'll measure your success, you can simply report the actuals in this section for comparison. With this data in place, you can file the document and return to it later when you decide to run a similar marketing activity.

Why the planner is necessary

Documentation and planning to this level of detail isn't overkill -- it's simply responsible marketing. This document only takes about 15 minutes to complete, and has all of the following advantages:

  • Your C-level execs will love the concise format and reporting of expected results versus actual results.
  • You will use these as reference points when you run similar campaigns. You can quickly call up your last similar promotion and see the actual results for testing and planning.
  • You'll find that you get better results when you commit your plans to paper.

To help you plan your marketing activities, we’ve included a link to our “Marketing Activity Planner” template in Word format so you can get started today. You can download the template by clicking the button below.
Download your FREE Marketing Activity Planner template