In this marketing roadmap how-to guide, I discuss:

  • What a marketing roadmap is
  • How a marketing roadmap fits into your marketing plan
  • Why you need a marketing roadmap
  • How to create a marketing roadmap: 12 questions to answer
  • A humanized marketing roadmap

I remember a scenario recently where I lost my sense of direction because my GPS stopped working. Then, of course, as it usually happens in these cases, I made it to the dreaded fork in the road.

“Which way should I turn now?” I wondered.

I remembered that I lived north of where I was coming from. So, I followed my car’s compass for directions to ensure that I was traveling north, with time, I was able to make it back home.

Why didn’t I go in the wrong direction?

It’s because I had a general sense of direction. Although I didn’t know the turn-by-turn directions, knowing which direction I needed to drive led to finding my way back home. That’s why you need a roadmap for your marketing activities. Even when you take a detour, you can always get back on track.

What is a Marketing Roadmap?

A marketing roadmap is a high-level overview of your marketing activities and milestones within a time period that outlines what you plan to undertake to help you meet your marketing or business growth goals. Marketing roadmaps help provide direction to get you to your ultimate destination with your business goals.

Marketing roadmaps can have different time horizons, such as 1-year, 3-year, or 3-month time views. However, it’s more common for marketing roadmaps to be created to help you see your marketing direction over the long haul. Tactical marketing execution project plans and marketing calendars can be used for near-term marketing activities in addition to long term marketing roadmaps.

Essentially, a marketing roadmap provides the direction and destination that you aim to get to with your business and growth initiatives. Like my personal experience, a marketing roadmap prevents you from getting lost as you work to navigate the different marketing activities you have to undertake. With a marketing roadmap, you can easily create turn-by-turn instructions or a more tactical marketing plan.

How a Marketing Roadmap Fits into Your Marketing Plan

marketing roadmap marketing plan marketing calendar marketing project marketing tasks

Why do you need a marketing roadmap?

  • A marketing roadmap helps you keep a big picture view of marketing goals even when you feel bogged down with the day-to-day marketing activities.
  • A marketing roadmap also makes it easier for you to know when you are meeting or not meeting your high-level business goals by preventing surprises down the line.
  • A marketing roadmap keeps teams motivated since they know the vision that they are working toward and how smaller marketing initiatives contribute to the bigger picture.
  • A marketing roadmap gives mundane marketing tasks more of a strategic view and allows teams to understand their role in moving organizations forward.
  • A marketing roadmap also helps you prevent the “spray and hope” method as each marketing activity closely aligns with your big picture goals.

Related: Creative Ways to Track Branding Campaign Success

How to Create a Marketing Roadmap

Creating a marketing roadmap is one of the most critical marketing planning steps that can get ignored. Why? It’s because when you have so many marketing activities going on, it can sometimes feel like spending time creating a marketing roadmap might use up a lot of the time that you have to execute marketing tasks.

Here’s a way to think of this.

You can either spend time doing many different things that may or may not impact your overall business goals, or you can spend a little time upfront, creating a clear direction.

In the end, you’ll be able to concentrate on the most important things instead of feeling like every marketing task is critical.

Questions to Answer When Creating a Marketing Roadmap

Creating a marketing roadmap can seem like a daunting task. At Brisque, we like to simplify processes as much as possible. As a result, we’ve broken the marketing roadmap process into four main categories (What, Why, How, Who, When).

As you may have noticed from the question break down below, often when people think of a marketing strategy, they jump into “the how segment” (the execution), which is understandable.

However, it’s also possible to get stuck in the day-to-day activity rut and not know when your activities make a true difference.

Here’s a breakdown of the questions to answer:

  • What
    • What are my top three business goals?
    • What are my top three marketing goals?
    • What are my top three marketing challenges?
  • Why
    • Why are the marketing goals important?
  • How
    • How will I achieve my marketing goals?
    • How will I know when I am on track?
  • Who
    • Who am I marketing to (target market)?
    • Who on my team is responsible for attaining my marketing goals?
  • When
    • When would you like to achieve these goals?

Related: How to Evaluate Creative Marketing Strategies or Ideas

1. What: Know what your goals are to help you define where you’d like to be

Setting goals plays a significant role in staying motivated to achieve your set goals. It also helps you know how to “keep your eyes on the prize.”

As you may have noticed, we asked you to list three items for each category.

  • Business goals
  • Marketing goals
  • Marketing challenges

Why just three?

While your business might have more goals than just three, forcing yourself to think of only three prevents you from ranking everything that you have to do as necessary.

Pink Mingo’s 2021 Flying Start Guide mentions the rule of three. Pink Mingo Founder Elizabeth Lichten explains, “Competitive busyness does not equal productivity, and if you want to be successful in 2021, you have to be strategic with your time.”

Here’s a sample of what your business and marketing goals for your marketing roadmap could look like:

Top 3 business goals

  1. Increase growth by 50%
  2. Increase market share by 10%
  3. Automate processes to create a 25% increase in efficiency

Top 3 marketing goals

  1. Increase brand recognition in target industry by 15%
  2. Increase lead generation volume to meet 50% growth goal
  3. Introduce new client retention program to increase customer retention

Top 3 marketing challenges

  1. Attracting more qualified leads
  2. Balancing consistency and quality
  3. Carving out a new industry niche

Related: Proving Marketing ROI: Why You Should Never Set Sales Goals Using a Top-Down Approach

2. Why: Know the business impact of the goals that you have

On the surface, it may look like why you want to achieve specific business or marketing goals might be evident, but it’s not always the case. For instance, an overall business goal is to increase sales or grow at a certain rate. This is quite common and expected. However, it’s vital that you also understand why you feel the need to succeed at that rate.

If your growth goal of 50% will increase revenue and provide the cash flow needed to hire more employees to help an overburdened staff, communicating this will help everyone rally around the goal.

Linking your goals to your vision

Most businesses have a vision statement that describes the direction they are trying to take their business. A good rule of thumb is to go back and ask yourself if your goal helps you achieve your ultimate business vision or steers you away from the bigger picture.

Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say your company’s vision is to be the “leading surprise toy manufacturer for ages 3-8.”

You won’t become the industry leader if you cannot increase brand recognition or market share. As a result, the business goals and marketing goals listed above relate directly to the business’ vision of becoming a leading surprise toy manufacturer.

Related: Proving Marketing ROI: Why Should I track Micro and Macro Marketing Metrics?

3. How: Putting the plan into action

How you plan on attaining your marketing goals is undoubtedly an essential part of any marketing roadmap and strategy document. Remember that your marketing roadmap document is supposed to be a high-level overview of your marketing direction.

It’s not a tactical plan.

Meaning, while a marketing roadmap has a high-level view of what you plan to do, you should create an extensive tactical plan that outlines specific marketing activities and timelines based on the marketing roadmap that you create. Having a marketing calendar and system to manage your marketing tasks and projects makes a big difference.

Questions to answer:

  1. How will I achieve my marketing goals?
    • Which marketing channels will I use?
    • How much of a budget do I have?
  1. How will I know when I am on track?

Related: How to Calculate Leads Needed to Meet Your Revenue Goal

4. Who: Who’s my target and who’s responsible?

Who are you targeting?

Targeting the right audience makes a big difference in achieving your marketing goals. When selecting your target audience, the key element is to ensure that you don’t try to reach everyone at once. Often, this is one of the biggest mistakes that I see.

When you target everyone, you target no one.

If anyone can use your product, it’s still important to define who you can efficiently market to and concentrate on that group of people.

For instance, if you are selling a product that families can use, and you happen to have a connection to other moms, it may make sense to start targeting moms first.

Who’s responsible?

When assigning marketing responsibilities, you need to look at it from two perspectives, the person who’s in charge of executing tasks and the person who oversees the execution. In some cases, the person who supervises the tasks will be the same person who performs that task.

Since a marketing roadmap is a high-level view of your marketing activities, for this plan, it’s essential to focus on who is in charge of overseeing the tasks and not the specific people that will execute the tasks.

Here’s a sample:

  • Who am I marketing to (target market)?
    • Target audience: Moms
    • Age: 30-45
    • Channels that they use: Facebook, Blogs
  • Who on my team is responsible for attaining my marketing goals?
    • Overall marketing goals: Kate, Marketing Director
    • Q1 campaign: Sam, Marketing Manager

Related: [Free Template] How to Measure & Score Your Brand Perception

5. When: Timely Execution

When you plan on executing specific marketing tasks will play a significant role in planning your overall marketing activities. When you think of timelines, think in terms of timeliness and importance.

You may need to prioritize certain marketing activities because they are timely. For example, if you are running seasonal campaigns, you’d have to ensure that your campaign aligns with that season.

Similarly, if you know that people tend to buy your product as they plan for the next year, you may need to prioritize your spending towards the end of the year.

To keep your marketing roadmap at a high-level, think of timelines yearly, quarterly, or if you want to get somewhat detailed monthly.

Questions to answer:

  • Next year by this time, where would I like to be with my marketing goals?
  • What would I have liked to have achieved by next quarter?
  • What do I need to get done by next month?

Bringing it together

In the end, your marketing roadmap doesn’t have to be an elaborate visual or a lengthy document. The format that you decide to go with doesn’t matter. What matters is that you take the time to create a strategic direction for your marketing. A one-page word document that is well-thought-out and utilized throughout the year supersedes any fancy document you don’t use.

A Humanized Marketing Roadmap

Since we focus on humanized marketing, it’s important to mention that a humanized marketing roadmap will essentially have the marketing roadmap elements listed above. The key differentiator that you will find is a focus on driving people connection based on:

  • Identified customer challenges that you solve
  • How you’d like to differentiate your brand in the marketplace

Do you need an outside perspective? We’d love to help you create a humanized marketing roadmap. Let’s chat.

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About the Author: Hellen Oti

For the past 10 years, I've been helping businesses build powerful brands and repeatable marketing processes by focusing on connecting better with customers. I started Brisque to help businesses grow organically with humanized marketing. My superpower is seeing the possibilities with your business and helping you discover how to stand out and connect with your core customers. When I’m not at work, you'll find me breaking out a random dance move, hiking, reading, traveling, fictional and non-fictional writing. I am also an experimental chef whose experiments sometimes go terribly wrong. My motto for these experiments: “eat if you dare!”