5 Tips for Building a High-Performance Marketing Plan

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As a modern marketer, you have a lot on your to-do list: build the brand, get leads into the funnel, and help keep those customers when it’s time to renew. Oh, and remember to track data to prove your worth to senior leadership.

It can feel overwhelming.

Well, Act-On’s Linda West is here to help. In this episode of the Rethink Podcast, we interview Linda, our senior director of marketing services and operations, as she shares her tips for building a high-performance marketing plan.

As a member of her team, I can share our informal motto: “Get Sh*t Done.”

So, let’s get to it.

Buyer Stages

The first tip is to recognize that you do not control the buying process ‒ your buyers do. You need to understand what they are going through. So map out their buying stages and figure out how you can interact with them at each point.

As you better understand your buyers and their buying process, you’ll want to map the content you have or will need to create to each of those phases to help your prospects move to the next step. For guidance, listen to our recent podcast on How to Map You Content to Your Buyer’s Journey.

And don’t limit yourself to focusing only on your target persona. Also consider the other stakeholders who may be pulled into the decision-making process, such as the CFO or CTO.


Next, it’s essential you think about the key message or messages you want to get out to your target personas.

“It is important to understand what value you can provide the buyer,” West said.

She suggests creating one to three key themes or ideas to convey to your audience. A message could center on a differentiator you’re creating, or it could be your business purpose or mission, or it could be something very aspirational or forward thinking.

A tax accounting company, for example, might choose the message: “Make taxes simple.” Moving forward, each piece of content its marketing team creates would be influenced by that theme.


For the tactics pillar of your High-Performance Marketing Plan, identify how you’ll activate your content and get it in front of prospects at each stage.

This could be developing a middle-of-funnel nurture email campaign, modernizing your website so that it’s mobile friendly, or defining how you prioritize leads that get passed on to sales. The list goes on.

In addition, you should assign responsibility for who will be in charge of those tactics and when they’ll be completed, as well as pinpoint any potential obstacles. Explore ways you can help your vision come to fruition, such as by purchasing a marketing automation program to create nurture campaigns or hiring a vendor to work on your website.

Want to learn more? Listen to Linda’s webinar on How to Create the Ultimate Marketing Plan.

Tech Stack

“Today, marketing is a techie discipline,” West said.

Two core pieces of technology are available to today’s modern marketer – the marketing automation platform (MAP) and the customer relationship management (CRM) system. Additionally, you may have content tools and other technology you need to integrate into your tech stack.

“You want to connect the dots from the technology you’re using to the tactics that you’re planning,” West said. “Because every single time a prospect interacts with you, it means something.”

These interactions provide valuable information about who these potential customers are, what they want, where they are in the journey, and what they’re thinking about your product. You don’t want to miss out on that insight because your tech stack wasn’t able to track it.


As you build out your plan, be sure to identify your measurable goals for each stage of the buyer’s journey. For example, you may focus on gaining web traffic for the attract phase and increasing qualified leads at the convert stage.

We asked our Act-On customers and prospects to tell us their key performance indicators (KPIs) for each stage of the journey. Here are some to consider when choosing your own goals:

  • Brand: web traffic, social engagement and social follows, brand search volume, and direct revenue contribution of brand efforts
  • Demand: leads generated, opportunity generated, revenue generated, ROI
  • Expand: website traffic, retention rates, Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction score, upsell/cross-sell revenue

West also recommend getting buy-in on your targeted KPIs from your CEO and other executive stakeholders.

The Big Idea

West’s final piece of advice for marketers: Find a big initiative or idea that you can champion and use to boost your career. This can be a new tactic, a new channel, a new type of content (podcasts or videos, anyone?), or a new technology … and the list goes on. Pick one thing in your annual marketing plan that enthuses you and use it to become a change agent for your company. In other words, look for an opportunity to shine professionally.

“This is why you come to work every day,” West said. “Get excited about something ‒ because marketing can be really, really fun, and cool, and interesting.”