Bringing ventures up to speed with our generic marketing plan (Part 1)
In a mini-series spanning two blog posts, our Director Performance Marketing Dorothee Seedorf and Venture Development Manager Philipp
Werner explain why we work with a generic marketing plan and how we adapt it to
the particularities of every individual venture.
Successful marketing requires creativity – this is certainly
true for both branding and performance. However, having worked with numerous ventures we see that a lot of the steps involved in
setting up ambitious online marketing activities are recurring and are clearly
even similar among startups with different business models. This applies to
infrastructural topics such as the chosen marketing tools, account structures
or seamless tracking implementation, but it is far from being limited to these.
Due to our tight collaboration with our portfolio
ventures, we are very aware of the challenges they encounter,
the points in time at which they tend to arise
and how the teams deal with them. Over time, we have recognized certain
patterns, kept track of them and eventually aggregated them in what we refer to
as our generic marketing plan. As such, it is embedded in our general venture
creation framework, which covers all functional areas which are vital for
building a successful company.
No matter whether the collaboration is about
acceleration or incubation, when launching a new venture we adapt this general plan
to the company’s specific requirements, ensuring that, while particular needs
are met, the founders still benefit from the methodological know how we’ve
gained through our experience with other ventures.
What channels suit the business model best to drive
customer acquisition? How do we reduce churn and achieve customer loyalty? What
should the initial structure of the marketing team look like? How do we deal
with interdependencies between channels that we’ve experienced in a similar
model? Which KPIs apply, how do we best share the budget across channels and in
relation to KPIs, and what steps are necessary in order to reach which goals? Is
the budget even still the right measure or have we reached a point where CAC
vs. CLV orientation is key?
We dissect these questions down to the most granular
level and then translate them into actionable items, define the corresponding
accountable persons and add durations and interdependencies. The result is a venture-specific
marketing roadmap with a sound degree of detail. Not only does this structure
the work of the team but it also creates transparency about dependencies and
thereby increases communication between the channels.
The approach of having such a generic marketing plan
that we customize for each venture together with our partners has another
decisive advantage: Right from the start we help them pave the way for the
data-driven marketing that we value. Project A stands for taking the “esoteric
factor” out of marketing. Sound planning helps us to turn that into action.
Saying “we” explicitly includes our ventures, as we
don’t have to convince our founders to base their marketing decisions on data. In
fact the purpose of this planning is to facilitate the preparation of the data
that is necessary to achieve data-driven marketing. This especially involves a
business intelligence roadmap, as consistency in tracking is key in specifying
exactly the marketing reports that our venture’s marketers need in order to make
smart, data-driven decisions in their conceptual as well as in their daily
work. Such efforts eventually result in a data warehouse, where all required
data and reports can be found.
Walking through our generic marketing plan together
with the founding teams we partner with has proven to be very valuable. Expectations,
goals and objections get addressed and transferred into concrete project
planning, leaving everybody with a clear idea in mind (and on paper) of what
steps are ahead of them during the first months, when and by whom they are
going to be tackled and what their effect will be.
Structuring recurring marketing efforts this way makes their execution
more effective and leaves us with a lot more time for creativity.
In the second part we will focus on how we
continuously improve the generic marketing plan together with our later-stage
ventures to further optimize their marketing activities and to ensure that we
build an asset that all our ventures can benefit from.
About the authors
As our Director Performance Marketing, Dorothee leads
the online marketing team at Project A and decisively influences the marketing
of our ventures, acting either as a sparring partner or interim CMO. Dorothee can
build on ten years of experience in online marketing, during which she helped
to grow the business at Zalando from almost the beginning and was previously
responsible for the sales team at Zanox, leading the T-I-M-E-S department.
Philipp is part of the Venture Development team at
Project A and supports our ventures in the areas of project management, interim
management and operational support. He holds an MBA with a major in Media
Management and has executed several digitalization projects for companies such
as Warner Bros. Entertainment and Sky Germany.