In looking at companies planning efforts with that framework in mind, several key shortcomings emerged, all of which limited marketers' abilities to plan their efforts and align them with the rest of the enterprise, Gerard said.
Most notably, the survey of large b-to-b marketers (greater than $3 billion in revenue) found that almost 60% of them allocated less than 2% of their annual budget to marketing applications software. So how were they doing their planning? For smaller organizations (with less than $1 billion in revenue), the survey found 77% either used Microsoft Excel or had no technology planning tool at all. Even for companies with greater than $3 billion in revenue, 40% still did planning in Excel, Gerard said.
By not having technology in place to help with marketing planning, marketing departments not only fall short in doing their own planning but they also have no way of integrating their planning efforts with sales, finance, operations and other departments, Gerard said.
“Marketing can put a team and processes in place, but what we found was that they can't scale their processes until they better leverage [marketing] technology,” he said. “They can put together a decent planning cycle and track budgets at a high level; but without the proper planning technology, they have trouble looking beyond the month or quarter and tying spend to specific campaigns, and products and countries.”
Gerard said he takes solace in the fact that marketers realize they lack key marketing technology. When asked what marketing planning process-related changes they planned to implement in the next 12 months, 60% of those surveyed responded “better utilization of technology.”
The challenge, of course, is that with the “economic downturn we're in, that's going to put greater pressures on the budgets to purchase new planning technologies,” Gerard said.
In addition to better use of technology, marketers must focus on several additional marketing planning best practices, Gerard said, including more regular budget planning/re-forecasting, improved focus on campaign measurement and a concerted effort to get corporate and field marketing on the same page. Only when marketing gets its own planning processes in place can the marketing department claim an equal place at the corporate planning table, Gerard said.
“Companies always talk about marketing and sales alignment being broken. And they're right: It is,” he said. “But part of the reason they are having a tough time is that marketing needs to clean up their own house first.” M
? Planning is a continuous process throughout the year, not a one-time per year “trip to the dentist.”
? Market intelligence is leveraged to drive priorities and investments.
? Planning includes alignment within marketing and with the organization.
? Marketing is considered “fiscally responsible” by the CFO and the CEO, and can shift resources monthly.
? Marketing resource management technology is in place, corporate and regional participation have been secured.