From communicating with Developers, to Graphic Designers, to Marketing Specialists, to clients, there’s a lot of communication going on and it can be hard to keep everyone on track towards the same goals. It can be easy to find yourself wondering, “But wait... what were we trying to accomplish again? Did we define what ‘success’ for this campaign would be at the beginning?” The easiest way to prevent confusion is by following the first, most crucial step: Account Planning.
Account Planning Defined
In Account Planning we are not focusing on the seller of the product or service, but rather the person who needs that product or service. Every single initiative identified for the campaign must be relevant to that end user.
Before you start executing tasks, a great Account Manager should use the following checklist to get you started on the right track:
The Ultimate Account Planning Checklist
1) Set Benchmarks
This is one of the most important, but often most overlooked steps in Account Planning. How will you know if your end result is a good one if you don’t know where you started? First things first: define where you are. If marketing qualified leads is the objective and you want to bring in 20% more in Q4, how many leads did you generate in Q3? What about Q4 last year? Gather as much information as possible, and be sure to consider seasonality when comparing data. The more you know about where your business is now, the better your Account Manager can help you address your current problems to move forward.
2) Define Success
Okay, now that we know where we’ve been, where do we want to go? Is a 20% increase in sales reasonable? If not, what is? Is there a secondary goal? It’s important to clearly establish what the objectives of the campaign are. It may be brand awareness, or organic traffic, or online revenue.
It’s important to work with your Account Manager to establish reasonable goals. It’s also crucial that you share as much insight with your Account Manager as possible, as well as utilizing your Account Manager as a trusted insight resource. Make sure you’re hearing out your Account Manager’s suggestions and reasoning for them when it comes to defining your business’s success.
When it has been defined, make sure it is written down and the entire team is fully aware of what you’re all trying to accomplish together. This way, at the conclusion of the campaign, everyone will be able to understand if the campaign was truly a success.
Hint: Your goals must be measurable so that you’re able to show success. Look into using S.M.A.R.T. Goals to help define appropriate goals for your campaign.
3) Study the Customers
Consult the Buyer Personas or work with your Account Manager to help you establish them. As you begin brainstorming initiatives and strategies to bring your campaign to life, always make sure the customers is top of mind. Does the primary persona really engage with Instagram? Maybe, and maybe not. It’s so easy to lose sight of whom a marketing campaign is geared for; having the personas right in front of you will ensure that you are always considering their habits and tendencies. Don’t ever forget that marketing is not for the seller—it’s for the consumer. What do they need to feel comfortable making a purchase or engaging in a service? What are their main pain points and how can you alleviate them? Where are they? Facebook? Email? How can you reach them and make an impact?
4) Map It Out
Once you have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish and who your target audience is for your campaign, its time to clearly establish each strategy and tactic that will bring the strategy to life. You have your objective; what marketing initiatives will you leverage to make it happen? Then, list out the specific tasks that need to be completed. Don’t be afraid to get really specific here. The key to campaign success is accountability, and with everything written out clearly and roles defined, your whole team will be on the same page.
At the conclusion of your campaign, take the time to measure your results and report back. Did you reach the original goals you set for the campaign? Why or why not? Make sure you’re working with your Account Manager to establish which metrics matter to help determine how successful it was. Some goals take longer than others, but a great Account Manager should be able to guide you through and help get your campaigns back on track when they aren’t reaching their goals.
No matter who you partner with, it’s important to know what makes an account management relationship successful. At the end of the day, be sure to come away from each campaign you implement with a few “nuggets” of information. Each campaign is an opportunity to learn more about your consumer. The knowledge you will gain with proper Account Planning and documented analysis will be invaluable as you continue your marketing efforts.
Interested in talking to Groove about our Account Planning efforts? Drop us a line today!