What is a marketing playbook?
Very simply, a marketing playbook is where your team’s strategies and outputs should be kept for quick, on-demand access. When there is a marketing playbook, team members may develop content or start a new interaction without reinventing the wheel.
This document is a helpful reference guide that should be shared with both internal teams and creative agency partners as a way to ensure that all stakeholders – within your organisation and outside of it – are producing content that fits the company’s overall vision.
And the playbook isn’t just for the content stakeholders to consult. Everyone with access to the playbook, will realise where they fit into the marketing picture, improving meaningful contributions across teams.
The marketing playbook thus provides a complete map of how your organisation markets itself, and focuses primarily on deployable strategies and deliverables that can be created at a moment’s notice.
*Why have a marketing playbook?
Marketing today is so sophisticated and dynamic that it’s easy for deliverables to fall short of their mark, if there’s no overarching plan. A trustworthy, all-inclusive and updated marketing playbook can ensure that even the most complex content strategies come together, regardless of overall campaigns or channel-specific activities. Advantages of a marketing playbook are as follows:
● It provides communication planning guidelines, drives consistency across markets and enables the sharing of best practices.
● A playbook records and shares insights (e.g., web analytics, econometric modelling) and applies them across markets, products, and/or services.
● It saves diverse teams the time involved in initial planning and conserves the energy and resources that go into implementation.
*What goes into a marketing playbook?
No two businesses will necessarily have the exact same playbook but there are a few general subject areas that every playbook should include. To maximise conversions, reaching target audiences wherever they may be, is important. And so, information about the target audience, what they value and the best ways to reach them should all be in the playbook. The following are some of the concepts to remember when putting together your version of a marketing playbook:
Generating customer conversions is more about the customer than it is about the marketing manoeuvres and that’s why, marketing materials that aren’t aimed at your specific audience aren’t likely to succeed in modern day marketing. By detailing your high-priority client profiles in your marketing playbook, you are ensuring that every stakeholder has access to essential information on how best to customise messaging and thus, hit high conversion rates.
The list of tried and tested content “plans/strategies” to choose from is the most important component of a marketing playbook. Each marketing deliverable has individual factors such as technical expertise, emotional connection, and so on which are critical to their success. Outlining which success metrics apply to each tactic, listing hypotheses and suggested experiments that typically run on content, will give teams guidance and inspiration when A/B testing.
● Do personalised emails increase engagement?
● Do case study statistics encourage form submissions?
● Do more users click the button because it’s in blue?
There’s no need to get any deeper than that. The marketing playbook is not intended to teach others how to use tools and technology. It simply lets them know what to use and when so they can quickly put their skills into practice.
*Keeping track of the numbers
It’s important that a playbook be backed up by hard facts taken from previous experience. There is important value in knowing which techniques and tactics have resonated with which categories of audiences and resulted in conversions. A marketing playbook will ensure that your digital deliverables and performance live on and add value to the organisation’s strategies for the long-term. Depending on the channel or campaign, KPIs you might measure include:
● Number of customers acquired
● Cost per acquisition (CAC)
● Customer lifetime value (LTV)
● Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
● Sales qualified leads (SQLs)
● Return on Investment (ROI) on ad spend
● Organic traffic
● Social media engagement
● Follower growth
Teams can turn data into useful insights to enhance the play when they understand what indicators to track and how they connect to the overall goal.
*Team structure and responsibility Who is in charge of social media content strategy? And who does the actual posting? How do internal and external teams measure and evaluate their contributions to joint projects? When all of these guidelines are specified in the marketing playbook, it eliminates overlapping and confusion. There is a roadmap for everyone to refer to, there is clarity around roles, and this is especially relevant as campaigns become more sprawling.
*Branding and general messaging Brand awareness today has evolved along with the channels people use to communicate with businesses. A marketing playbook’s branding and messaging segment can ensure that every slice of content, from spontaneous social media reactions to long-gestating high-value content, flows from the same general strategy. Your brand can and should have a consistent style and tone, not to mention uniform visual language, including colours, logos and fonts to ensure that an audience has the same experience across platforms and channels.
*How does a marketing playbook help you?
A marketing playbook helps a business make the most of the opportunities of today’s marketing communications by:
Simplifying priorities and best practices for communications: Identifies types of communications, best practices, and optimisation techniques that should be used to get maximum return-on-investment depending on marketing objectives.
Identifying audience media use: Provides insight on how consumers or businesses adopt, interact and engage with different communications channels.
Planning and strategising communications: Plans, allocates and defines workflows for campaigns and overall execution.
Setting goals and measurement matrixes: Defines and sets up campaign objectives and evaluates the channel with relevant KPIs.
Determining channel mix: Through consistent and integrated use of media channels, maximises campaign impact.
Ascertaining technology and data: Identifies which technologies and tools could help with planning, measurement and execution of the various approaches that are available.
*The winning goal Your marketing playbook serves as a roadmap for all of your marketing initiatives, and it should focus on accomplishing the kinds of overarching corporate objectives that your organisation most desires. If the objective is to turn inbound leads into paying customers, then that’s the focus of the marketing playbook. If retaining long-term subscribers is the end goal, the playbook should reflect that choice.
The playbook is at the disposal of an organisation’s marketing team and beyond when they need it, so that they know at a glance what they’re aiming for, the agreed-upon pathways of getting there and the best practices that have worked from past campaigns.
Clear instructions help team members put together every deliverable effectively and keep their content on-target. If your marketing concepts are good, they’re worth writing down and repeating. That’s where the playbook sparkles. But it’s important to remember that no strategy is all perfect. Reflect on learnings and update the marketing playbook as your team and organisation evolves. Strive for incremental gains that keep you winning.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
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