In previous CMSWire articles, we discussed the changing role of the CMO, how marketers can develop a digital customer-centric system that drives revenue and the tools and integration techniques that help marketing leaders track and quantify revenue.

Now, we’ll use what we’ve learned to build a master strategy — a blueprint — to drive growth. As you develop your blueprint, you’ll take all the information you’ve gathered, synthesize it and then distill it to build your clear action plan. 

What the Blueprint Is — and Isn’t

This strategic blueprint comes in many forms — it’s yours to own. It will define how you plan to compete and grow, with both short-term and long-term pathways to achieving your goals. Although no two organizations’ blueprints can and should look exactly alike, there are commonalities in what a blueprint isn’t and what it is. 

Let’s start with what a blueprint is not.

  • A blueprint isn’t tactics. It’s not campaigns, events or pipeline leads. Even the pandemic didn’t change the overall customer journey strategy; it may have changed some tactics (e.g., digital vs. in-person conferences) but not the B2B strategy of how people interact and sell. 
  • A blueprint isn’t technology. Technology is a tool; it can’t solve anything on its own. For example, if your objective is to triple revenue, your strategy is not “buying marketing automation;” instead, it’s “using marketing automation to respond to data trends and develop more meaningful connections.”

Now, let’s address what a blueprint is:

  • A blueprint is a roadmap. It’s a far-reaching strategy involving everyone. Your whole organization will use it to guide everyone in the correct direction toward a customer-centered experience and connect it to your organization’s goals for revenue growth. 
  • A blueprint is imperfect when you begin. And that’s fine. Start with an outline, drawings, graphs, data or whatever recording form feels most comfortable. Then develop the strategic document based on your line of business objectives. 

A good starting point is to examine your current wins and outcomes. What’s the ultimate result of the customer journey? Begin there. 

Finally, everyone needs to see themselves in the blueprint. This is a chance to ensure their buy-in and advocacy. Make sure there’s a section in the blueprint that reflects the needs of every division:

  • CEO: “Does this blueprint meet my growth needs?”
  • CFO: “Does this blueprint have an ROI? Do I have a budget for it?”
  • CIO: “Does this blueprint fit into my compliance picture?” 
  • CTO: “Does this blueprint help me build a better product?”
  • CMO: “Does this blueprint empower me to focus on the customer?”

Related Article: Chief Marketing Officers Share Priorities Amid Economic Stress

The Importance of Taking Risks

As leaders in this transformative process, you and your fellow executives must be comfortable taking risks. 

These don’t have to be enormous make-or-break risks, but you will find yourself outside your comfort zone; you need to prepare for that. So, your blueprint should reflect risk too. The good news is that those risks will lead to big payouts.

Learning Opportunities

For example, take Adobe’s recent purchase of Figma for $20 billion in cash and stock. Figma had a great software product, but why did Adobe spend that much? Perhaps it was a future promise of something they saw in Figma. That demonstrates the whole lifecycle of a challenger coming in to disrupt the incumbent and the incumbent taking action.

If you tell your company to stop taking risks or say never mind, that’s too much trouble, you’ll get left behind. Because some other currently tiny revenue stream — which could seem like a risk now — will likely be your next billion-dollar revenue stream. 

Related Article: How Does Adobe's $20B Acquisition of Figma Impact UX Designers?

Are Marketing Leaders Ready?

To ensure that your blueprint is ready to guide growth, it must reflect organizational consensus, priorities, budgets and timelines. You’ll know you’re ready when you have these elements in place:

  • The goals are clearly articulated in terms of revenue targets and are specific, measurable, realistic, timely and approved at the executive level
  • A vision of a customer-centric organization that’s understood supported, internalized and embraced by everyone at all levels of the organization
  • A gap state, completely mapped, between the current performance of your people, processes and technologies and your future requirements, with the most critical deficits identified
  • The timeframe for the implementation of the growth engine, which has been agreed upon at all levels
  • A strong yes to the following questions:
    • Do we have a consensus?
    • Have we identified priorities?
    • Do we understand the challenges? 

Digital Transformation Involves Everyone

Digital transformation is organization-wide, or at least business division-wide; use all departments' expertise and tools in your transformation. Creating your strategic blueprint will help you get there. 

In an upcoming article, we plan to discuss how to implement the growth engine that drives revenue through enhanced business insights and customer experiences.

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