Happy New Year? A Marketing Strategy for 2020.5

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
November 14, 2022

Note: This is a repost of a Hive9 blog from “2020.5” with strategies that can be used for a prosperous 2023 and onward!

If you’re ready to leave the trials and tribulations of 2020 marketing in the dust, you might be excited to learn about a new concept that’s been floating around: 2020.5.

With the end of the first half of 2020 now at our doorstep, why not commemorate the milestone by rethinking your strategy for the second half? (Unless, of course, your year has been a breeze, marketing-wise. In that case, carry on as usual.)

Illustrating the idea of 2020.5, Steve Dodman, chief sales officer at Richardson Sales Performance and former director at Forrester SiriusDecisions, recently posted this commentary on LinkedIn:

“For most sales organizations, June 30th marks the end of the first half. Two quarters down, two to go. If there has ever been a year that calls for a 1/2 time pep rally, this is the year.

Make a clean break from the challenges and headwinds of H1 and re-engage your growth mindset and optimism for H2. It’s time to hit the reset button and redefine what success looks like over the next 6 months. Build your comeback story and then bring it to life!”

At Hive9, we’re getting in on celebrating 2020.5 by sharing a feasible six-part strategy for marketing leaders to make the second half of the year one for the ages (or at least substantially easier than the first half).

1. Get your plans in one place

A vital component of hitting that metaphorical reset button is getting organized. Your ideas, your plans, your strategy, your campaigns — they’re all part of what enables the successful execution of your marketing goals, but a haphazard assemblage of these things (e.g., various spreadsheets) only causes bad data, formula errors and headaches.

For example, if your marketing functions employ some form of campaign framework and hierarchy, that should be clearly displayed as part of your plans. What’s more, if your plans are built across multiple spreadsheets, they’re not connected to your revenue model, and they’re certainly not visibily aligned to your overall strategy.

On the other hand, when your plans are consolidated into just one platform—which includes validation through revenue modeling, visible alignment with your goals, and one customizable calendar that’s visible to everyone on your team—you’ll spend less time trying to get your plans in order and more time making decisions in support of your goals.

Read more: Three Key Components of an Effective Marketing Calendar

2. Align with sales

As explained recently in a Forrester SiriusDecisions blog from Brett Kahnke, even when your marketing goals change, they still must stay in alignment with “sales, service and product development,” even when those teams are updating their own goals simultaneously.

After all, Kahnke said, the “foundation of any data-driven plan” is “clear, aligned and measurable company goals.”

For sales and marketing in particular, when both of their data is gathered in one place, each department can gain more visibility into the organization’s overall plans, budgets, pipeline, performance and goals. Then, when they’re equipped with insights into metrics to drive results, their focus can shift from the tactical level to a more strategic coordination of these larger company goals.

3. Standardize stages

Most marketing leaders are probably familiar with some version of the SiriusDecisions demand waterfall, which puts into place a clearly defined structure, stage by stage, for organizations to handle leads.

“By standardizing stages through the waterfall, you’re able to track all the action that happens from the point at which a prospect becomes a lead and when that lead eventually turns into a customer. When you have waterfall reporting data at your fingertips, you’re able to pinpoint which tactics are working and which aren’t. Importantly, you can determine where on the demand waterfall a lead might tend to fall off, enabling you to figure out why it’s happening and how to improve it: e.g., At which stage do leads sit typically stagnant for longer periods? Is there a “black hole” for leads?

4. Start planning with a purpose

Alignment of your plans is key, but what about purpose? Kahnke’s blog, pointing to the SiriusDecisions Tactic Performance Model, says organizations that “evaluate tactic-level results by taking into account their intended audience and purpose are more successful in reaching their goals.”

Success can’t always be measured in terms of ROI, especially if market forces are making sales more difficult,” he continues, adding that you might need to “reevaluate expected costs as demand for certain channels drops or increases and the market adapts.”

As you adapt your plans to these changing market conditions, you need to be confident that the changes will deliver the desired impact. But how do you determine that impact? Look, again, to the waterfall—and, more granularly, predictive waterfall stage attribution analysis, including actual stack-ranked campaign and tactic performance, along with their predicted results and impacts on your plans.

In addition, to get a handle on your changing costs, as we described in Step #1, validate your plans with revenue modeling, revealing “which paths are the most expensive, which are the most efficient, which processes are negatively impacting performance, and which segments could improve with a little coaching.” (For more where that came from, check out Revenue Modeling for B2B Marketers.)

5. Inform the setting of business goals

Kahnke’s blog makes note that data-driven marketing probably won’t reach a level of sophistication that would “turn your operations into a ‘self-driving car.’” However, he says, “reacting quickly to define sudden change, highlight dangers, recommend adjustments, and clarify focus may deliver the traction control and assisted braking your company needs to avoid a collision.”

“Collisions” can happen when your organization isn’t able to have meaningful, informed communication about what’s happening. To combat this problem, we made our Hive9 solution particularly suited to enable users to have direct conversations with each other in areas that are in conflict with their business goals.

For example, one of our newly rolled-out features enables you to leave comments, directly referencing another member of your team, to drive a notification to the referenced user in real time (as seen in the figure above). Need a tactic approved right away by a member of your team in another country? Ping him with a comment, showing exactly where you need action. Collision: avoided.

6. Track and improve

We’ll keep this point simple by sharing Hive9’s own mantra: “Plan, Fund, Enable, Measure, Learn” (and repeat), putting users on a path of continuous improvement.

It goes a little something like this:

  1. Plan: Automate your plan and calendar, segmented to match your organization’s needs.
  2. Fund: Import your financial budgets, and always know where you stand when it comes to funding.
  3. Enable: Connect to your execution systems, aggregating actuals for activities, outputs, impacts and costs.
  4. Measure: Compare actuals to your plan, exploring your performance from multiple points of view (always in the context of your plan!).
  5. Learn: Explore, learn and adapt to the market, and then build your next plan based on what you learned (not on what you did).

Best of luck to you in the new year! Reach out to us anytime to share your own strategies, meet up to have some virtual hors d’oeuvres, or ask any questions about how we can be of assistance in 2020.5.

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