A marketing manager must be able to look ahead, as well as look back and keep an eye on the details. On the one hand, they have to see the overall picture, but on the other hand, they have to make sure that everything proceeds without a hitch and make adjustments if necessary.
In this article, I will describe how to continually shift your focus within the Husky environment. Of course, you can apply the same principles to your Excel documents or other methods for planning and executing your marketing communications.
What do you intend to do in the next few months to come? Where do you place the emphasis? What do you need to maintain, in any case?
Answering these questions immediately clarifies which marketing projects you are creating. Some projects have a clear start and envisioned end date, like the preparations for an event. Other projects are ongoing, such as maintaining your social media channels.
This is also the time to take a critical look at the organization of your projects. Do you put specific projects in a group? Or do you use tags for this, so that you can view the selected projects together via a filter? Or do you want to group projects in another way, in separate plans, to create a clear distinction between the various projects?
If you approach this intelligently, you will discover that you can reuse existing projects as a basis for new projects. Simply create a project that can serve as a template for other projects. By copying an example project like this, you will immediately have all the tasks, channels, costs, KPIs – and perhaps even the structure of your notes – at your fingertips.
Next, think about how you can archive marketing projects. This means that you will not need to see any projects that are no longer relevant. They will, of course, have a lasting impact on the budget.
To draw up your macro plan you may want to create a few tasks. Conducting a competitor analysis, for example. Or organizing a brainstorming session to get some of your colleagues' creative juices flowing.
Keeping notes for each project will help you give decisions, inspiring thoughts, etc. a more a logical place. Perhaps the budget you will be working with is already clear, or you can already determine the KPIs.
You will also need to determine what sort of communication is necessary in your macro plan. Start by creating various channels. This will answer the question "Where and how do you plan to communicate?". You can link responsibilities to channels straight away, or invite participants. Additionally, you can link a description to the channel clarifying your intentions. You can also add tasks to this or initiate online discussions. Enriching the channels with company-specific tags makes it possible to filter your calendar precisely as you think necessary.
The "four-week" display will allow you to see four weeks at a glance. If you focus on today, you will see last week, this week and the next two weeks to come. By bringing up the full-year calendar, you will also be able to see where the "gaps" are, or when things look like they could get a little hectic. You will frequently switch between these two displays while you are working on your meso-plan.
Which tasks do I need to get done and which tasks do my colleagues need to do?
You will frequently switch between the "four-week" and the "one-week" display when working on your micro-plan. The "four-week" overview will show you what you were unable to complete last week, what is scheduled for this week and what you need to prepare for the following weeks.
The weekly calendar shows you what you have planned for each day that week. The color code will help you quickly identify what you have completed and what still needs to be done. Filtering according to status will enable you to see only those items you need to see to gain a clear view of what you and/or your colleagues still need to do. It is also the ideal screen to take along with you to your weekly team meeting.
You can also filter your communication plan in such a way that you will only see the milestones that involve you, as the owner of a project, channel or milestone, or as a participant.
Checking off tasks and changing statuses with regard to milestones (What am I doing now? What has been completed?) is a daily activity. There can hardly be anything more satisfying than seeing all of your tasks disappear one by one at the end of the week after they have all been given a green status color. And, in the meantime, your colleagues will easily see what is keeping you busy. Fewer status updates, more enjoyment in your work!
During your activities as a marketing manager you will not have the luxury to say: "this week I will be making a macro-plan and next week a micro-plan". Your colleagues would be surprised if they were to see that in your calendar that you are continually shifting your focus sfrom one plan to the other. From the overview to the details. And back again.
You will also need to be flexible when making assessments. What went well last week? Was the schedule too tight? What weren't we able to do?
If you want, use tags to filter based on well-performing or in adequate communication actions. Alterbatively, you can assign the status "to be discussed" to the items you want to put on the next meeting's agenda.
It's best not to draw up a micro-plan too early, because this can cause you to 'get stuck'. In an 'agile' working environment it is important to be flexible, to be able to respond to opportunities and to continue learning from prior experience. Planning all your tasks one year in advance, therefore, does not seem to make too much sense to me. You will also lose lots of time in doing so: it takes a long time before you are "productive" (because planning might be crucial, but is not so productive) and if any changes are made, it might take hours to change all your plans.