Your 2021 Marketing Roadmap: How to Get Started

2021 Marketing Roadmap

It can be intimidating to start creating your 2021 marketing roadmap.

There are A LOT of options available and many tactics to consider: website, email marketing, blogs, videos, social media, video, photos, SEO, PPC, content marketing, direct mail, trade shows, events, advertising, directory listings, printed material, brochures…the list is seemingly endless.

Where to start? I get it – it’s overwhelming. Let me guide you along the way.

Steer away from the marketing tactics and shiny objects.  Speeding to these marketing elements prematurely will not generate desired long-term results. You’ll be stuck focusing on short-term, low-impact marketing elements.

Marketing elements over time and impact

Instead, make a U-turn back to your brand’s guiding statements: your mission and vision.

Review your Mission and Vision

Your organization’s mission and vision provide crucial direction for your business plan and marketing strategy.

A quick refresher on mission and vision from Britt Skrabanek explains the key questions that each statement answers:

  • Vision: future focused, answers: what do we want to become?
  • Mission: today focused, answers: what do we do?

I recommend reading her article, The Difference Between Vision and Mission Statements for more guidance and examples. Hubspot also shares 17 Truly Inspiring Vision and Mission Statement Examples.

Back to your Business Plan

With your mission and vision in hand, review your business plan, which helps establish where you want to go. If you don’t have a business plan, then it’s a great time to create one that includes marketing. 

Think about how high-level corporate objectives ladder down into departmental goals and quarterly checkpoints. For example, an objective to increase profits 10% might flow down to a marketing goal of achieving a specific dollar amount of sales in a defined market or geographic area. Similarly, a communication goal might be to acquire a number of customers from the top fifty sales prospects. An advertising goal might be reach 25,000 consumers to increase brand awareness to a specific percent.

Depending on available performance data, you can adjust your goals to fit your industry and internal capabilities. That being said, it’s important to have well-defined goals to drive your efforts.

Situation Assessment

One key component of any marketing roadmap is a deep analysis of your current situation. Survey your surroundings, check your mirrors, and blind spots with a SWOT Analysis. This stands for strengths, weaknesses (both internal, company factors), and opportunities and threats (both external, environmental factors). Working on a SWOT as a team, you can identify internal strengths and external opportunities that should be leveraged and allocate budget dollars accordingly. Think of the SWOT as an outside-in viewpoint, whereas the 4P’s in your marketing tactics are an inside-out focus.

Another way of assessing your current situation is by using the 4C’s, as described below.

Marketing Situation Assessment

4 C’s: Company, Competitors, Collaborators, Customer

The 4C’s help evaluate your business’ main purpose and strategy to thrive. Essentially, you will answer what business you are in from an internal viewpoint and external view of the industry, competitors, and customers.

Company:  What are our core competencies and internal strengths? What makes us different from all the other options available? Review value propositions.

Collaborators:  Who benefits when we succeed?  Who shares our interests or can help us? Think of industry organizations, trade groups, or people who call on a similar customer.  Who attends the same trade shows and events?

Competitors:  What else is our customer considering?  Who are the direct or indirect competitors? What are our competitors’ strengths?

Customer: Who can we help? Who values our product or service?  What customer segments should we target? Are we trying to acquire new customers or retain existing customers?

Essentially, as a company, you are answering:

  • What
  • Who
  • Why
  • Where
  • When
  • How

For additional context on these questions, peruse Dan Mall’s blog post on the Only-ness Statement.

Target New Customers or Existing Customers?

In general, it costs five times more to acquire new customers compared to retaining existing customers.  Chief Marketing Officers (CMO’s) are spending on customer retention over customer acquisition by a ratio of 2 to 1, according to a Gartner 2017 – 2018 CMO Spend Survey.

Based on answers to these questions, come up with a strategy to define an ideal target customer.  The customer focus is so critical in any company.  The more you understand and can articulate your target customer, the more targeted your marketing tactics and promotion can be. 

Evaluating Customer Segments

If you have multiple customer segments, evaluate each segment in terms of

  • Profitability
  • Ease of reach
  • Size of segment
  • Competitive presence
Everything starts and ends with the customer - Lou Gerstner

Customer Persona Development

Spend some time describing your ideal customer in detail. Consider demographics and psychographics in your profile, starting with the list below:

  • Industry:
  • Company Size (Revenue / number of employees):
  • Location:
  • Target Job Titles:
  • Alternate Job Titles (supervisor, other stakeholders):
  • Age Range of target contact:
  • Level of Education Attained / Training:
  • Buying Behavior (frequency, research phase, quotation process):
  • Communication Preferences of target contact:
  • Needs / Wants / Pain Points:
  • Goals / Emotional Benefits:

Sometimes it helps to write a narrative about an individual in a particular persona. For additional reading, I like this article from Sharp Spring.

Think of appealing to emotions and the end result of working with your company. For example, at Appeal Marketing, I strive to make my clients feel more confident and less stressed about their marketing. I want them to have peace of mind, knowing that they trust me to do it right for them, so that their marketing is more appealing and fun to oversee.

Positioning Statement Framework

Based on your customer personas, start crafting a positioning statement, which will then direct your 4P’s.


Check out Awesome Brand Positioning Statement Examples from G2 Learning Hub.

4P’s: Product, Place, Price Promotion

Based on your positioning statement and customer persona, you can develop tactics to best reach your target market.  This involves defining the 4 P’s, or the overall marketing mix that will implement your strategy.

Product: What are we offering as a product or service? What is our product strategy?

Price: What pricing model is appropriate for the distribution channel (place)? What promotional prices or sales will occur throughout the year?

Place: Where are we selling the product or service?  In-store? Online?

Promotion: What tactics will help drive sales? When will each activity be planned? What tactic should be used at what stage of the buying process?  Consider sales promotion, advertising, social media, email marketing, direct mail, trade shows, events, blogging, and more throughout the year.  A planning calendar can provide a guide.

Consider the Customer Journey

How well do you understand your customer’s journey from awareness to purchase and post-purchase?

Map out and track how many times you have to reach a customer to produce the desired action.  A typical journey might be viewing an ad, social media post, visiting your website, clicking on a button, providing an email address, sending a message via chat, visiting your store, and all of the other possible actions that can occur.

Though this may vary by industry, it may take anywhere from five to seven touches for any action.

Therefore, it is essential that any marketing effort be consistent and integrated across communication channels. A one and done approach will not produce the desired results.

Many Customer Touchpoints

Customer Touchpoints throughout the customer journey

It takes time for a customer to research any given product or service.  Many of us have to know a company before we decide if we like and trust them enough in order to want to buy from them.

67% of the buyer’s journey is completed before sales knows they are in market.

– Sirius Decisions

Many prospects are looking at your website, social media pages, online reviews, or blog posts before you talk to them or see them in your store.  This makes all of your initial touchpoints in the buying journey even more important!

What kind of first impression are you making with customers?  Are you easy to find through search?

Consider investing time into your brand and overall look and feel to help foster a positive first contact with your customer and his or her influencers. According to CEB, there are 6.8 decision makers for every enterprise sale. Depending on your business, it is essential to help customers throughout their decision-making process.

74% of buyers choose the sales representative who was first to add value and insight.

– Corporate Visions

Then, take the time to go deeper, and review how customers interact with your company along their purchase journey. Read more customer journey questions for additional inspiration.  Surveys, focus groups, and daily conversations can provide key insights into the customer experience.  Use those insights to make improvements to your processes, products, or services.

Being Customer Focused Pays Off

Companies that focused on the customer experience realized a 43% performance gain compared to companies that did not (Source: Forester Customer Research, Customer Experience Index).

To effectively reach your target customer, you need to have the right message on the right platform at the right time.  How do you figure out the right marketing mix?  You have to test out marketing tactics and track your results over time to determine what works.

Characteristics of Strong Marketing Tactics

  • Targeted to where your customers are
  • Relevant
  • Consistent (not one-and-done)
  • Integrated across platforms
  • Authentic

Invest Time in your Marketing Roadmap

Although it may seem like a big undertaking, time spent creating a marketing roadmap will pay-off in the long run. With a plan and marketing calendar in place, your company can shift from reactive marketing and missed opportunities to pro-active strategies and planned activities.

If you need a co-pilot to help your organization arrive at its desired destination, let’s talk soon.

Sign up for a 60 Minute Marketing Roadmap Session.

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