5 Tips for Better Marketing Plans in 2023

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
December 22, 2022

Marketers around the globe are looking at the plans, budgets, and new strategies they promised to try in 2023. But with so many different factors to consider, it can be difficult knowing where to start. 

We’re incredibly lucky to get to work with talented marketers every day, so we asked some of our customers to share their advice. From Axonius to Unilever, we talked to marketers from all different backgrounds.  

So, if you’re looking for tips to make better marketing plans for 2023, read on for some expert advice. 

Tip #1: Strategy starts with an investment blueprint  

As we head into 2023, strategic planning and budgeting will be more important than ever for marketing teams. Ragen Dodson, director of marketing operations and analytics at Axonius, says strategy is at the forefront of every action their team takes.  

Checking forecasts month-over-month, is how the marketing team at Axonius can easily spot which campaigns are driving success, and where they need to pivot tactics. Uptempo’s Allocadia product powers these insights. Ragen says, “It serves as our investment blueprint, helping us optimize our budget so that we won’t face any surprises down the road.” 

Yvonne Stacherski, vice president, senior marketing operations manager, and sports sponsorships at Comerica Bank counts on surprises. While they plan for brand awareness a full year at a time across all media channels, they know that such a monstrous plan needs flexibility.  

She explains, “We are laser-focused on creating brand awareness in our markets where awareness is low. This includes our headquarters in Dallas, Texas, as well as a couple new markets in the Southeast US and Mountain regions. It’s an all-channel approach, including digital, social, TV/Radio & outdoor media. As for planning, we try to get our business partners to make plans for the full year ahead, but it’s difficult for them to commit, and we always keep some funding in reserve for new opportunities.” 

Both teams are better able to predict their spending across channels, and the impact of that spending on each campaign. Ultimately, it helps them predict their impact based on their spending. And the team feels empowered to cut, adjust, or invest more, building an even stronger strategy for the following quarter.  

Tip #2: Uncertain times call for creative actions 

It started with COVID in 2020, but the challenges thrown at businesses and marketers haven’t stopped. Andreas Baermann, senior manager brand solutions, group brand and sustainability at BRITA Group summed it up nicely when they said “We are aware that we live in a global VUCA world and want to deal with it openly and flexibly. And yet, we keep our short-, medium-, and long-term goals in mind… we need to readjust without becoming unfaithful to ourselves.” 

But to stand out when there is so much content to consume, companies need to be creative and adaptable.  

Sandra Stimple, senior marketing manager at DB Schenker, is an optimist at heart. She says, “Uncertain times call for creative actions! Let’s make the best of this situation and champion change to transform uncertainty into opportunities that help accelerate business growth. Together we must concentrate on a holistic sales and marketing lead generation and customer acquisition strategy.”  

Tip #3: Creativity won’t happen without space for it 

One smart strategy to leave space for creativity came from former customer Sean Hiss, vice president of global GTM operations at WEKA.  

His marketing team purposely plans for only 80% of their capacity to leave space for the unplanned. Every marketing team has a wish list of projects or new ideas to try. And every month WEKA’s leadership team pulls out that wish list and vets the strongest ideas. This allows the marketing team to act with agility and seize new opportunities as they come up, instead of already being overloaded and trying to do more but failing. 

Bev McCullick, supplier marketing administrator at Mouser Electronics, promotes a similar strategy. She says, “We always leave part of the budget open for new marketing opportunities.” Things can always change and there may be new opportunities that arise throughout the year. For this reason, it’s important to leave some budget open for new marketing initiatives. 

Tip #4: Build reports that answer your CFO’s questions before they ask them 

According to Lianna McGauly, director of technology and process, marketing at Bottomline Technologies, “As companies are constantly trying to tighten budgets while chasing ROI, the focus on marketing attribution reporting is more important than ever.” She recommends investing time and resources in building reports that answer important business questions your CFO or CEO might ask. This allows senior marketing leaders to make sure budget is spent on the right initiatives. It also puts the data your CMO needs during board meetings at their fingertips. 

Thomas Gunter, director of marketing planning and operations at Cisco, echoed Lianna’s advice. He says, “Today, our strongest achievement is our ability to articulate what we are invested in, for what purpose, where, when, and for what outcome.”  

Tip #5: Always have an exit strategy 

In the last couple years, marketers have learned that the only constant is change. You and I both know that we’ll be making pivots to our marketing plans next year. But what isn’t talked about enough, is how critical timing is to the success of those pivots.  

Eric Gillies, Unilever’s marketing finance analytics manager, sheds some light on how they know when it’s time to pull the plug on a plan. He says, “We have matrices to know when the proper times are to make changes to plans. We work with a lot of customers and vendors, so pulling out on a plan when it’s too late could hurt others, or we could incur a penalty.”  

While Eric refers to them as matrices, McKinsey offered the same advice: establish trigger points to activate a new plan. If we can make one prediction about 2023, it’s that scenario planning will continue to be a critical skill for marketers. Brush up on scenario planning in 5 minutes with this article.  

A plan is just a plan without resources 

2023 is going to be a big year for your team, and you’re going to want to make sure you’re prepared. Having a plan is one thing but having the resources to execute that plan is another. Two pieces of closing advice: 

  1. Make sure you have the budget and workforce necessary to carry out your plans and adapt to changes along the way. 
  1. Don’t forget to measure your progress and results. Regularly reviewing your KPIs will help you course-correct if you’re falling behind, and it will also give you a chance to celebrate your successes. 

You may not be able to predict everything that will happen, but you can (and should) be prepared for anything. By following these tips, you can set yourself up for success with better marketing plans no matter what comes your way in 2023. 

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