30-60-90 day plans are an incredibly helpful tool for anyone in a new management role. 90 day marketing plans set the direction and tone for your leadership, help you effectively share your vision and goals, and provide a framework to help you overcome the learning curve everyone faces when stepping into a new role.
For incoming marketing directors, these plans are essential. However, there’s a lot of misguided information out there about how to create a solid 30-60-90 day plan. I spoke with two of my favorite marketing leaders, both of whom have successfully implemented new marketing plans, to set the record straight.
What Is a 30-60-90 Day Plan?
A 30-60-90 day plan lays out your path of action for the first three months on the job. The goal is to help you make a smooth transition by establishing concrete goals and action steps that set you up for success and that help you make a good first impression.
Why Build a 30-60-90 Day Plan?
Karolina Kocalevski, VP of Marketing at Averon, helped us clarify why creating a plan for the first 90 days leads to success. “The goal is to set out some tactics for quick wins in the early days in your role as director,” Karolina told us.
Some hiring managers will ask for a 90 day marketing plan during the interview process. Even if they don’t, you should create one anyway! Having a 30-60-90 day plan as a new manager builds confidence in your role as a leader and your place within the company.
Establishing confidence from your team and from stakeholders will help the gears grind smoothly as you get into more serious decision-making. Karolina also made it clear that moving forward without taking time to evaluate the whole picture is not really moving forward at all.
“You cannot outline tactics without understanding,” she said. If you don’t know what you are working toward, your work quickly devolves into reactionary one-off projects that don’t coalesce to achieve your goals. Building a thorough 30-60-90 day plan gives you the needed framework to achieve more important goals that your company leadership hired you to achieve.
What to Expect in Your First Days
The early days in your new role lay the groundwork for your 30-60-90 day plan. It’s important to start off on the right foot.
“First days are really critical, even just that first week,” Cathy Johnson, Managing Director of Marketing at TD International, said. “The first thing you need to think about is pre-existing marketing.”
Evaluating what marketing efforts are already in place will help you strategize how to move forward. This will require not only research within the company, but also conducting market research to help compare what other companies are doing in the industry. Jumping into a company with a mature marketing program is quite different than building a program from the ground up.
Cathy also explained that stakeholders in your company will expect quickly-executed, highly-visible results. Give them quick wins, be responsive to their concerns, but also remember that you are primarily in a position of strategy and that your longer-term tactics may not “move the needle” drastically right away. Be clear and open with stakeholders so they understand your role and what you are working toward. When results do roll in, they’ll know it was part of your overall plan.
Jumping in to Your First 30 Days: The Learning Phase
It’s tempting to jump right in and start making changes, but the first 30 days should be primarily focused on listening and learning. You’ve been thrown in the deep end and there is lots to learn about your team, your responsibilities, and how marketing has been executed in the past. And if you’re starting at a new company, understanding the mission, goals, and values of the company as a whole is essential and will shape your next steps.
Developing true understanding of your company’s goals and values for marketing will require asking the right questions. Cathy expressed that new marketing directors ought to “talk to everyone.” It’s not enough to narrow your thoughts exclusively to marketing; departments function cooperatively. Be proactive about asking others to grab a cup of coffee or go out to lunch. You’ll start building personal relationships and can talk about work as well.
What questions should you be asking? Karolina recommended that the first 30 days should include answering the questions:
- What is our primary target market?
- Who are our competitors? What are their strengths?
- What are the major factors affecting our ability to gain early sales wins?
- For start-ups and small companies, how can we look more experienced than our size suggests?
- What has worked thus far for reaching the target audience? Traditional or digital marketing?
- Who are the major influencers to our target market? Are there any notable blogs, publications, organizations, or individuals that already have the trust of the target demographic?
After gaining a better understanding of the target market and how your company has functioned within it so far, you can begin asking questions that affect marketing strategy execution, like “What marketing tactics can counter the biggest deterrents to our success?” and “When is the first feasible date of execution for marketing techniques?”
The goal is to “figure out who your target market is, research the best ways to reach your target market, and begin planning for the execution of your first few tactics.”
Not only is it important to get an idea of what fellow employees think, but also what impressions the employees get from clients. Ask questions like, “Do clients seem satisfied?” and “Are there products or services that generate more confusion from clients than others?” Don’t be afraid to survey clients directly, too. The best answers come straight from the source.
Once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to start making recommendations for marketing infrastructure, Cathy said. What tools are currently available, and what will you need to execute your future strategy? If your new team lacks marketing automation, a CRM, or an up-to-date website, this is the time to suggest those changes. They may not happen right away, but planting the seed early will help them happen faster.
Cathy also emphasized that an outline of your full plan should be drafted by day 30. It does not have to be a complete, full-scale, detailed overhaul. At this stage, you want buy-in from leadership before laying everything out in case they don’t approve of it’s direction. “It is easier to correct course early,” Cathy explained.
While your early plan should not be fully drawn out yet, it should clearly state the goals you wish to achieve. Having a clear direction encourages buy-in and builds confidence in your ability to lead. Cathy says, “It can’t just be talk...you have to build strategy to build trust.”
Bottom line: days 1-30 are all about developing a thorough understanding of the current state of marketing within your company and beginning planning to improve that state.
Days 30-60: Setting a Budget for Big-Picture Strategy
Days 30-60 are when you can begin generating tactical support for your initial plan. One of the most important aspects of this time frame is establishing a budget. Cathy explained that, early on, a new marketing director will likely be inundated with projects team members have been waiting to accomplish. While the excitement can be uplifting, it is necessary to keep things in perspective. What can feasibly be done within your company’s budget?
While planning for big picture marketing strategies takes precedence, conducting smaller, visible marketing endeavors shows stakeholders that work is getting done. Cathy expressed that one-off projects, like a short contest or introductory email, build stakeholder’s confidence while still allowing the long-term plan to stay on track.
A big part of your budgeting is making space for the tools and resources you recommended in the first 30 days. During days 30-60, you’ll want to secure the funds for these and to start implementing them. The tools are necessary for your broader strategy, so the sooner they are up and running and available, the better for you and your team.
Budgeting can be tricky and takes a lot of time and thought. To help you get started and save some valuable time during the crucial first months, our team at Beacon Digital created in-depth annual marketing budget templates for new marketing directors. Based on your discretionary budget, we lay out thoughts on spend for technology, advertising, events, external support and other marketing buckets. You can download the customizable templates here.
Days 60-90: Putting Your Strategy Into Action
The final 30 days are the fun part, as the marketing strategy you’ve carefully shaped starts to show results. During this final phase, you’ll want to solidify support for your plan, getting the official “go-ahead” from stakeholders, and then put it into action.
All the prior work, research and careful planning will pay off as you start launching the campaigns outlined in your first days. And since you’ve been transparent about your goals through crafting a 30-60-90 day plan, when you meet them and see marketing successes, you’ll be able to point back to the strategy and planning that got you there.
Tips for Measuring Your Success
At each stage of the process, which we outline as Observe, Analyze, Execute, and Measure (learn more here), you’ll want to set clear goals that you can later measure against. For example, your goal for the first 30 days could be:
30-Day Goal - Understand
Goal is to accelerate the learning process to make effective contributions faster.
Then, list out actions steps to achieve that goal. For example:
- Interview 5 customers
- Meet key internal stakeholders
- Read 5 pieces of market research
- Complete product training
It’s important to keep your goals measurable so you can keep tabs on your progress and make sure you stick to your initiatives.
To help with goal planning, choosing key tasks, and measuring your success, we created a 30-60-90 Day plan template. Take a look for more in-depth details.
Days 1-90 in your new role as a marketing director are intense, busy days. But also exciting, too. With a 30-60-90 day plan in hand, you’ll be prepared for marketing success, and be able to demonstrate how your strategy delivered.
Need some further advice on building out your marketing plan?
Whitney is a highly sought-after B2B online marketing expert with more than 12 years of experience leading marketing and communications teams in a variety of organizations, including nonprofits, small businesses, tech startups, and large global corporations. She’s helped dozens of brands gain greater recognition for their causes and products in the digital world.