The 90-day plan to deliver your revamped 2021 marketing approach?

‘It’s a new year! The question is, does it require new thinking around your marketing approach?’

I wrote in the above blog, that when I’ve been faced with needing considerable adjustment to an intended marketing approach, I’ve looked to bring order through adopting a 90-day plan. This provides focus and discipline to what needs to be done and in itself, also, the justification to the actions that need to be taken. The 90-day plan needs to work within the resources available to you too, plus maybe with some help from consultants, to help keep you on the chosen path.

To give a bit of context for how I found setting a short-term plan of action really helpful, I’ll explain a scenario that I experienced. Mine was more like 120 days, but hey, this was still five years before Michael Watkins had published his book ‘The First 90 days’ in 2003! The real point is setting and committing to a realistic plan and timeline, to make the plan reality.

I had been relocated to Australia, from Asia, with Mars then faced a problem where one of the major brands had been in decline for a couple of years …market share had almost halved. Different solutions, mostly through new ad campaigns, had been tried, though none were successful in halting the decline.

So, we took a step back from the situation, went through the questions raised in the previous blog, looking at the category/market, customer/consumer, as well as organisational needs and capabilities to gain an understanding around what had potentially driven the decline….and importantly, how to fix the situation. Deciding what needed to done, there were aspects that could be fixed in the short and medium-term, but also research that needed to be carried to understand how the brand needed to evolve for the future too.

This resulted in various workflows that needed to run in parallel and some sequentially too. We were looking at positioning/campaign work, R&D recipe work, manufacturing/packaging capabilities, trade customers, sales data and research (prior and future) and business profitability.

The Plan really helped lay out all the different streams to deal with the short to medium term challenges and opportunities. This enabled the benefits for the brand (and business) to be captured as quickly as possible. The Plan ensured the groundwork for long term aspects were embarked on and delivered too.

What would a 90 Day Plan look like today?

Let’s face it, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since the early 2000s and the 90 Day Plan has pretty much written itself into business folklore and is a common approach taken by many new CMO’s as they move into a new job. Also, its overall understanding and approach have been adapted over the years too. For example, Michael Watkins has found it necessary to update his original book some ten times since!

Also, at TrinityP3, we’ve developed and evolved our own thinking around the 90 Day Plan too. Our approach focuses on Transformation, recognising that you need to get a clear understanding of where you are now in relation to strategy, structure, capabilities, process as well as alignment thereof. This needs to be done whilst navigating corporate culture too.

If you don’t sort this out in your first 30 days, your 90 Day Plan is highly unlikely to succeed in achieving the financial targets you set post-implementation, assuming you actually get to be able to implement the plan that is!

In your first 30 days of your 90 Day Plan you will most likely be addressing these three focus areas:

– Brand and Strategy – leading to growth opportunities

– Marketing Structure & Resources/Capabilities – ensuring you have the right capabilities in the best structure

– Agency & Supplier Roster – having the right partners to deliver results

Brand and Strategy

The Market

– The market landscape and how it is changing

– The key trends impacting the market over the next 5 years

– Current competitors and likely disruptors

– How the brand(s) is performing

The Customer

Who the customer is; their needs and wants and how this is changing

What the internal (and external) data says about the current customer

Marketing Structure and Resources/Capabilities

Marketing Structure

– Current marketing team and structure

– Alignment of structure to existing strategy

– Reporting lines within marketing and with the rest of the organisation

Marketing Resources and Internal Organisation Interaction

Capability assessments within marketing

Organisational perceptions of marketing

Resilience status of marketing – individuals and team

Agency and Supplier Roster

The current roster

– Their current roster of suppliers and capabilities

– The legal and contractual status of each

– The current remuneration model and fee

– The perception of current performance

The roster capabilities and issues

Suitability of the roster of suppliers to deliver the marketing requirements

Issues currently existing in the roster such as capability gaps and performance

In summary

For all those that have successfully embarked on a 90 Day Plan like the above, or similar, I’m sure that you’d support the thought that it’s an invaluable tool to make a big impact where change is needed.

Yes, many of the areas being worked on will take longer than the initial 90 days to come to fruition, or indeed, for the results of your efforts to materialise.

In the scenario I explained above, it took two years to recover the lost market share and satisfyingly achieve new record brand share numbers thereafter, not to mention profitability, too.

Often the 90 Day Plan is talked about in the context of when you start a new job as a senior marketer, but why should the benefits of carrying out such a plan be limited to that. In my scenario an incumbent senior marketer could easily have embarked on such a plan as significant and decisive action was required to get all of the marketing team and key parts of the organisation behind the brand rescue plan.

I hope this gives you food for thought and if you need any help, you know where to find TrintyP3!

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