Marketing planning is becoming more and more challenging. Not only the expansion of channels, but the practice of grouping teams in silos has made planning more difficult in terms of clarity. Modern campaigns demand an omnichannel approach. But how do you create an omnichannel plan? Peter Desmyttere, founder of Husky Marketing Planner, answers this question during an interview with the NIMA Marketing Tribune. You will find the entire interview below.
According to Desmyttere many marketing teams are grappling with the evolution of the marketing landscape: "A few years ago, we started thinking more and more from the customer's perspective. Every advertisement must be given the same message and experience. However, the marketing landscape has been expanded with numerous channels, from offline and online advertisements, campaigns and events to social media. As a result, many companies have restructured their marketing teams in accordance with the silo model. And this has resulted in a problem, because every team has its own structure and planning. This makes it impossible to evolve in the direction of omnichannel planning."
Technology is inextricably bound to people and processes.
According to Desmyttere, what we need to do is to start working according to a single plan. "During my knowledge sessions I not only put a finger on the sore spot; I also show what an ideal marketing plan looks like. You can't just purchase a piece of technology, because technology is inextricably bound to people and processes. You need three components to achieve this transition. It is crucial that marketing teams take a critical look at their marketing planning in light of omnichannel and digitalization. This often means that things will have to change in the process – and that you have to ask yourself whether you should continue to think in the old silo-based logic, or if a new wind blowing through your organizational structure will also result in the re-allocation of tasks. There are a lot of possibilities in the field of digital tooling."
Many companies nevertheless take the step from Excel to generic planning tools, explains Desmyttere: "In the end, people tend to get stuck because these are not marketing plans. These systems lack many of the necessary functions. Additionally, the tools are often used by a few people in the organization. The tricky part is to start working with only one system, which is actively used by the entire team. Nowadays, a lot of time is lost in emailing back and forth and decentralized meetings about the status of jointly organized campaigns."
Husky Marketing Planner offers a planning tool developed from the perspective of the consulting practice. Desmyttere: "We are not a traditional software company that has brought a digital planning tool to the market. We looked at the growing problems in our practice and developed a solution based on the needs of marketeers. It's not just about selling a tool; what's more important is that the tool is implemented throughout the entire organization, with all the changes in processes and people that accompany this implementation. We have noticed that many teams start out using new technology, but have discovered after a few months that the technology may be good, but the way it is being used is wrong."
There are, of course, also some disadvantages to implementing a good planning tool. Desmyttere: "In the first place, it costs time and money. Part of this time is spent in changing the structure. It requires a different type of leadership, and a great deal of time and effort is spent on people and processes." Nevertheless, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages: "The biggest advantage is the overview, both at micro level for the marketeer and at macro level for the marketing director. Every employee gains insight into all the facets. A certain campaign will become transparent, at a single glance, during team meetings. Additionally, you will gain time because you will be able to find things much faster. The good planning structure makes reporting much easier. This also applies to other departments that are only involved in the sidelines, but can benefit from this information, like sales. And, not unimportant: the client will be better informed as well."
In conclusion, a marketing plan like this also yields another important benefit. Desmyttere: "A good marketing plan results in a sustainable model. The departure of employees, or their absence due to a long-term illness, will have hardly any impact on your planning in this case. This is because you are no longer dependent on the organizational talents of a specific staff member. Marketing is a fantastic profession, but employees have to keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time, which causes a great deal of stress. The less structured and well organized your approach, the more stressful it will be. You have to start organizing yourself as a company, because even good people who work according to plan will start to flounder in a chaotic organization. A good marketing plan will mitigate stress and burn-out complaints. If everyone sets to work on the basis of the same planning tool the actual work can easily be taken over someone else. All you have to do is plug your new employee into the system and you can simply continue from where you left off."
Desmyttere expects every marketing team to have started using one or more digital tools within five to ten years. "This process runs without a hitch at some companies, but it is quite difficult at many others. This is because factors like people and processes are underestimated. In many cases, the IT Department will decide which tool to purchase, while they do not have to work with it for example. In an ideal world a marketing team will be able to decide for itself whether or not to change the process or how it is organized and to look for a suitable tool to go along with this."
This interview was held in response to the presentation "Marketing planning: from Excel to digital tools" at the 2018 Marketing Day in Utrecht - Text: Janine Klein - Photography: Zuiverbeeld