What is a Marketing Playbook?
A marketing playbook is a tool used by businesses to capture standard marketing practices used by their marketing teams. The playbook is a helpful reference guide that can be used by everyone in the marketing organization to inform the design and execution of their marketing plans for the year. Its purpose is to document marketing best practices and to share know-how between disparate marketing teams. This helps all marketers in the organization, regardless of marketing experience, to streamline campaign planning and execution and avoid marketing missteps along the way.
What’s in a Good Marketing Playbook?
1. MARKETING CHANNELS
Most companies use a mix of internal (owned) and external (paid) marketing channels for their campaigns. Internal marketing channels will vary by company but include information about owned resources like a corporate website or community blog, social media channels, retail store or in-building signage, product packagings, loyalty programs, and customer communications—like email newsletters or monthly bills. External marketing channels will also vary; these might include television or radio advertising, billboards or digital out-of-home (DOOH) ad placements, online advertising, paid search, or paid social media placements.
Not every marketing channel will be a good fit for every campaign. For example, the release of a new online bill payment feature likely won’t warrant the expense of a billboard in Times Square and has much broader appeal. For this reason, the marketing playbook should also include information about the reach, audience, and cost of each channel.
2. OPERATIONAL PROCESSES & PROCEDURES
Each marketing channel (and associated marketing department) will have standard operating procedures that must be followed in order to launch a campaign. Standard processes may include an internal point of coordination, a calendar with inventory availability, and timelines for creative design and messaging approval. Technical specifications, such as maximum word count, or image resolution and size, should also be provided.
Operational processes should also factor in critical checkpoints including review by the legal department, and by engineering and customer operations. After all, every marketer wants to ensure that their website can support a surge of consumer visits when content goes viral, and that the support team is equipped to answer any customer questions that may arise.
3. KPIs & SUCCESS METRICS
No playbook is complete without target success metrics that marketers can use to measure the performance of their efforts. These metrics provide marketers with insight into the typical performance of the various tactics included in their campaigns. A 1% CTR (click-through rate), for example, might be high for a paid display ad, but extraordinarily low for a targeted email. By providing performance benchmarks for each channel upfront, marketers can quickly gauge which tactics are performing well, and which might need to be adjusted.
Success metrics are also important for cross-functional resource planning. It’s critical to be able to predict how many people your campaigns will reach, and how many are likely to respond to your offers because marketing programs impact other areas of the business. Your promotion might be a runaway success, but it will end in disaster if your website can’t support a surge of consumer visits, or if there aren’t enough customer service reps available to answer incoming calls from potential buyers.
4. EXAMPLE CAMPAIGNS
Samples of well-executed campaigns give marketers ready-made models to emulate when designing their own offers. Successful campaigns that have run previously are particularly helpful reference points for marketers that are new to the organization or to working with a particular marketing channel. These can help to streamline the creative design and approval process and ensure that planned campaigns stay consistent with the company’s previous messaging and brand. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
What Data Should I Use to Build my Playbook?
Data should be used to illustrate many aspects of the marketing playbook. Various types of data can be used to highlight marketing best practices and help your marketing team make better, data-driven decisions along the way.
Your marketing team has put a lot of effort into their marketing campaigns, so make sure that you’re benefiting from any lessons learned along the way. In addition to average click-through and response rates, the marketing playbook should include other campaign metrics, such as top-performing subject lines or proven audiences to use in ad targeting. All of this information can be used by marketers to more effectively connect with their target audiences and to maximize the chance that any new campaign will perform optimally out of the gate.
Marketers know that the most best-planned campaign won’t perform if there isn’t a market fit. Make sure that your marketing playbook includes key data like market sizing, market trends, barriers to entry, and competitive intelligence. Understanding how your customers—as well as your products and services—are different from those of your competitors can help you target your audience, tailor your messaging, and highlight those features that are unique to your business. Quality market data is indispensable when it comes to planning more effective campaigns that generate real results for your business.
Business performance metrics are also an important source of data for the marketing playbook. Information about unique visitors and conversion rates on the corporate website, for example, helps to determine channel reach and predict consumer response to an online offer. Knowing which audiences are likely to visit your retail stores to shop or to pay their bill can help you decide what message to put on an in-store promotional poster, or which consumers to reach with a message encouraging them to try your company’s new self-service payment kiosks.
Your customer records also provide a wealth of inspiration for marketing campaigns. Use data about your customers’ previous purchases to target your existing customers with offers for complementary products or services. A customer that is a power user of a new, online video service might be interested in subscribing to a premium online video package, or could be the perfect candidate to participate in the beta test of a 3D viewing experience.
Businesses should also evaluate external sources of data to enrich the customer profile information they already have on file. Location intelligence, for example, can enrich customer records with information about customers’ interests, habits, and affinities—enabling more sophisticated segmentation and tailored messaging throughout the customer lifecycle.
Your Marketing Playbook in Action
In general, the larger the company, the larger and more sophisticated its marketing programs, and the more comprehensive the marketing playbook will need to be. Putting together a well-documented and data-driven playbook takes concerted effort upfront, but will save your company a lot of time and headaches in the long run. Your marketing playbook should be used in support of virtually every marketing campaign that your organization plans, so once ready, the first order of business is to make sure that it is shared with every marketer in your organization.
The work doesn’t stop once your playbook is launched: it will also be important to keep your marketing playbook up-to-date. Keep in mind that channel reach, audiences, cost, and campaign performance will change over time, as the market evolves and consumer preferences change. For this reason, your marketing playbook should be available on a secure internal website or similar, where edits to processes and KPIs can be made in near real-time, and marketers are certain to see the most up-to-date information available.
GET STARTED WITH LOCATION INTELLIGENCE
Location intelligence and the insights it provides about your prospective buyers and existing customers is an invaluable source of real-world data for marketers. This data can be used to inform your overarching marketing strategy and to establish the best practices and tactical plans included in your marketing playbook. Because location intelligence reflects the real-world behavior of consumers in near real-time, it can help ensure that your marketing efforts are timely and reflective of current consumer interests and market trends. For more information, or to schedule a no-obligation consultation, contact us today.