Drawing the Solution Roadmap
Driving marketing execution through a clear solution roadmap is critical to your brand story and success. At Ballyhoo we partner with our clients to create their solution roadmap, or review an existing one, and map tactical solutions that help them execute on message, on time, on budget and on brand.
Solution mapping is a big part of how we work. It is the third step in our Ballyhoo process and essential to ensuring we’re creating successful strategic visual communications pieces for our clients. As we kick-off the New Year we’re pulling back the curtain on projects at the Workshop and how we Ballyhoo them!
The first step in our Ballyhoo process is the challenge. This is typically what our clients bring to us when we start a project. It could be finding a way to build brand awareness, refreshing a visual brand identity, or creating a strategic visual communications plan to guide company-wide branding guidelines.
After we take on the challenge we dive into discovery. Our goal in the Discovery Process is to try to learn all we can about our client’s goals and the action they want their audience to take. We establish what success looks like, analyze and prioritize the challenges and set a timeline.
Once we feel we’ve exhausted the discovery process, we head to the Workshop to start solution mapping. To begin the process we reflect on the four essential objectives of a marketing plan:
• Lead generation
• Brand awareness
• Brand consideration
• Direct Sales
Sometimes we’re creating solutions for just one of those objectives, often we’re creating a strategic visual communications plan that provides solutions to address each objective. To do that successfully we pull together key information from discovery to help us ideate solutions options and map them to the objectives.
Know the market – The marketing plan needs to be based on a strong understanding of the market, customers, competitors, and how the company will be differentiated in a meaningful way.
Match messages to tactics – Our team maps messages to the appropriate marketing vehicles that will reach the target audience. We also talk about why we’re using each tactic, or not using it, in an effort to ensure we are intentional and proactive in creating the solution roadmap.
Workshopping – Great ideas can come from anywhere. We work with cross-functional teams and ideate the best solutions for the most important problems.
Visuals – Logo, colors and visual identity are not your brand, but they are incredibly important in reinforcing your branding. We create visual brand identity solutions around logo, color, design, presentation, slides – an entire toolbox of possibilities.
Personality – The message you send to your audience should convey the tone of your brand in a way that connects with them. Transparent and authentic messaging, backed-up by consistency in visual identity gives your brand a personality your audience relates to. A solution roadmap serves to guide the messaging and tactical execution so your brand personality shines through.
Once we come up with messages and visuals that address each of these areas, we lay them out on a roadmap. Mapping our solutions back to brand objectives in the form of a roadmap helps guide tactical execution, achieve milestones, track progress, and fosters the marketing strategy.
90 day solution roadmap
Another approach we find successful for clients is a quarterly marketing solution roadmap. While an annual marketing plan is a staple of business success, they can be hard to adjust if plans go awry. Often our roadmaps serve as a “quarterly marketing plan”. This approach leads to more effective marketing strategies because it allows for iterative modifications throughout the year.
A quarterly marketing solution roadmap is a plan that includes:
• prioritized focus areas or strategic initiatives for the quarter
• resource allocation
• measurable goals
• an outline of the specific tactical execution activities to be used to reach those goals,
• and associated timing for each initiative throughout the quarter.
A quarterly planning approach lets you look at primary business goals and tie each to specific activities you’ll perform within a 90-day time frame. The key to success with a quarterly roadmap is having some form of analytics tools in place so that you can monitor performance of everything you do and all the ways your prospects are engaging (or not engaging) with your website, emails, offers, social media and more.
The tracking data highlights successful execution or areas with lackluster results that need to be modified. Rather than waiting until year-end to review performance and adjust, your branding can be more effective by making changes and focusing on specific goals that support the overall strategic communication plan.
After we’ve drafted the solution roadmap we go back to our clients to talk through our solutions, learn where we’ve hit the mark, and where clients are ready to enact our strategic visual communications plan.
Once the map is ready, we start travelling the route with creative. This is when the rubber hits the road and we start creating the tools that support our solutions.
A solution map gives us the opportunity to show our clients the array of creative options we can use to solve their branding challenges. Whether it is an annual strategic visual communications plan or a quarterly roadmap with iterative updates, at Ballyhoo we create solutions that match your objectives and drive success.
Are you following a map? Give us a call to talk about how we can get your branding back on track.