The five steps that helped PwC Switzerland achieve a 27% increase in marketing effectiveness through better marketing planning
Marketing teams are struggling to justify budgets and prove their impact to internal stakeholders. Read below how we transformed our marketing process and the way we formulated our marketing strategy plan to achieve just that.
Until recently, the way we did our marketing planning and budgeting at PwC Switzerland was very arbitrary. Some teams used spreadsheets while others prepared presentations. The marketing planning process wasn’t aligned across our department. Our market planning tool was seen as a purely financial tool that wasn’t connected to any other system. This meant that once the budgets were set and the tactics chosen, we didn’t really look at them again until the next budgeting round.
At the same time we also saw that we needed to embark on a broader journey to bring about significant digital transformation in marketing. And we knew that the process had to start with getting our planning right.
"Our key challenge was to change our marketing planning from a purely financial exercise into a strategic one. We didn’t just need to get better at planning our activities; we also needed a better overview of budget spend throughout the year, plus the ability to connect our campaign planning with reporting to see the impact of our campaigns."
We realised that given the great complexity of planning in a larger B2B organisation like PwC, the primary need would be to streamline marketing’s planning process and eliminate silos. With six or seven marketing teams, each of which had slightly different structures and a different approach to planning, we would need to ensure ease of use but also flexibility in terms of customising and visualising data to increase adoption and usage within the organisation.
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We knew that the answer wasn’t going to be as simple as merely implementing new technology. To make the change real and really streamline marketing, we had to think across our whole marketing operating model and how each marketing process step would be influenced.
We did a complete audit of our existing marketing processes and technology to understand what was working well in terms of marketing planning and where the problems lay. This showed us that resolving the issues would involve articulating objectives, defining the process and training our people to get the most out of marketing planning technology. We came up with a solution involving five steps addressing people, processes, technology, organisation and data.
On the people level the priority was to empower our staff and train them to leverage technology to its fullest ‒ which we hoped would also boost their job satisfaction.
Our endeavours to transform our processes included defining marketing planning processes and identifying current and future needs; improving our budget and resource planning; enabling uniform campaign planning and design; facilitating campaign execution and nurturing; improving lead scoring; increasing execution efficiency to achieve cost savings and minimise redundancy and fragmentation; connecting marketing and sales activities; and delivering MQLs (marketing qualified leads).
Getting the technology component right involved understanding the digital maturity of the marketing department; reviewing appropriate technical solutions to reach our marketing goals; and reviewing the technology to have make sure automation, interconnectedness, ease of use, flexibility and customisable solutions were in place.
The transformation of our organisation entailed building a new mindset emphasising that people are the most important resource for a successful data-driven marketing strategy, and empowering our marketing team to play the role of a trusted advisor and strategic business partner.
The fifth step addressed the whole issue of data. We realised that we would need clean data enabling sophisticated analysis and reporting, unified and centrally available data collection across channels ‒ and that we would have to develop the capability to deliver insights from and action on all data within the ecosystem.
In a nutshell, over the last few years we’ve achieved a true transformation of our marketing – and a 27% increase in our marketing effectiveness – by investing in a fully integrated digital ecosystem and repositioning our marketing engagement. We’ve used the planning and financial management capabilities of our chosen campaign planning tool to evolve our marketing strategy. And in the process we’ve achieved a whole array of concrete, sustainable outcomes: streamlining our marketing planning, improving campaign cost control, demonstrating ROI, and enhancing collaboration and transparency across the organisation.
Our streamlined planning process gets everyone on the same page by providing a better overview of activities at a detailed level: plan, programme, campaign and tactic. With one single place to plan, plus real-time data, everyone stays up to speed on what’s happening. People are enabled to go into the tool, make plan changes and know they’re being seen across the board. We used to have difficulties, on an aggregated level, with keeping track of what we were doing. Now we can see exactly when we’re running specific marketing activities such as email campaigns and paid searches.
Our impact measurement capabilities enable us to demonstrate ROI to key stakeholders within the organisation. Thanks to a structured planning process, we can now see the whole marketing programme and have a total cost overview within one tool. Our financial management tool integrates marketing plans with both our purchasing and financial systems, creating a closed-loop actuals reporting environment that can be reconciled with finance while still being compared with marketing plans.
Our marketing transformation has added value across the board. We now have a planning process and technology in place giving the organisation full transparencBut the real gains go way beyond cost and time savings. The changes we’ve made are part of a wider journey that the marketing department has embarked on. This journey takes us all the way from upstream ‒ planning ‒ to downstream ‒ collecting data and feeding it back into the loop again.
The process of streamlining the company’s various marketing plans and programmes on such a large scale is ongoing, and we’ve realised that it will always be a learning and improvement process. The effort is well worth it: by improving our client relationships and addressing our target groups, we’ve been able to turn our marketing into a business driver and grow both our clients’ business and our own.
Streamlining the way you plan your marketing efforts can radically boost their impact and create a solid foundation for ongoing digital transformation. If you would like to discuss marketing planning and budgeting, or any other marketing-realted matters in more detail, please get in touch with us or check out our service offering.