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October 29, 2012
The Case for Creating a Marketing Playbook
In recent survey of 104 marketing executives from around the globe, conducted by my friend and former colleague Leighton Jenkins, 63% of responders either didn’t have a marketing playbook or didn’t know if they had one.
Maybe we collectively suffer from the “shoemaker’s son” syndrome or we don’t take the time or trouble to standardize, document, and share our work processes. But a marketing playbook that spells out the go-to-market strategy, operational assumptions, internal and external assets and partners, brand and graphic guidelines, step-by-step planning parameters, timelines, suggested budgets, key learnings and best practices quickly becomes the family jewels of a marketing organization.
Creating a marketing playbook for your company is critical for three compelling reasons.
Continuity. Knowing what you do, how you do it, and how you’ve done it is critical to bring new players on board and to continuously improving marketing performance. Given the turnover in marketing teams, a playbook is critical for orientation, training, and coaching. It also expedites planning, insures a measure of quality control, and avoids having to re-invent the wheel with each new communications need.
Institutional Memory. Similarly, knowing what’s been tried and how is important to assess new or repeat tactics. Far too many of us do not document or archive campaigns and initiatives or their related analytics. In many cases, we defer to the staff member with the longest tenure who usually says something like, “Yeah. We tried that four years ago and it didn’t work.”
Peak Performance. Documenting marketing programs expedites assessment and learning. A playbook spells out the recipe for mounting each and every type of program. It suggests the operational steps, timetables, and applicable budget considerations. It should also illustrate the resources needed, dependencies and contingencies and sequential steps and approvals necessary to get a campaign out the door.
Understanding who did what and how well they did it is imperative to doing it better next time. Baking this into a living, breathing playbook insures that learning is shared across siloes and that critical questions are continually being asked.
A marketing playbook shouldn’t be an afterthought or a “nice to have.” Rather it should be a core asset for every marketing team.

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Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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