Bringing Ventures Up to Speed with Our Generic Marketing Plan (Part 1)

Director Performance Marketing Dorothee Seedorf and Venture Development Manager Philipp Werner explain why we work with a generic marketing plan and how we adapt it to individual portfolio companies

By Dorothee Seedorf and Philipp Werner

In a mini-series spanning two blog posts, our Director Performance Marketing Dorothee Seedorf and Venture Development Manager Philipp Werner explain why we work with a generic marketing plan and how we adapt it to the particularities of every individual venture.

Successful marketing requires creativity — this is certainly true for both branding and performance. However, having worked with numerous ventures we see that a lot of the steps involved in setting up ambitious online marketing activities are recurring and are clearly even similar among startups with different business models. This applies to infrastructural topics such as the chosen marketing tools, account structures or seamless tracking implementation, but it is far from being limited to these.

Due to our tight collaboration with our portfolio ventures, we are very aware of the challenges they encounter, the points in time at which they tend to arise and how the teams deal with them. Over time, we have recognized certain patterns, kept track of them and eventually aggregated them in what we refer to as our generic marketing plan. As such, it is embedded in our general venture creation framework, which covers all functional areas which are vital for building a successful company.

No matter whether the collaboration is about acceleration or incubation, when launching a new venture we adapt this general plan to the company’s specific requirements, ensuring that, while particular needs are met, the founders still benefit from the methodological know how we’ve gained through our experience with other ventures.

What channels suit the business model best to drive customer acquisition? How do we reduce churn and achieve customer loyalty? What should the initial structure of the marketing team look like? How do we deal with interdependencies between channels that we’ve experienced in a similar model? Which KPIs apply, how do we best share the budget across channels and in relation to KPIs, and what steps are necessary in order to reach which goals? Is the budget even still the right measure or have we reached a point where CAC vs. CLV orientation is key?

We dissect these questions down to the most granular level and then translate them into actionable items, define the corresponding accountable persons and add durations and interdependencies. The result is a venture-specific marketing roadmap with a sound degree of detail. Not only does this structure the work of the team but it also creates transparency about dependencies and thereby increases communication between the channels.

The approach of having such a generic marketing plan that we customize for each venture together with our partners has another decisive advantage: Right from the start we help them pave the way for the data-driven marketing that we value. Project A stands for taking the “esoteric factor” out of marketing. Sound planning helps us to turn that into action.

Saying “we” explicitly includes our ventures, as we don’t have to convince our founders to base their marketing decisions on data. In fact the purpose of this planning is to facilitate the preparation of the data that is necessary to achieve data-driven marketing. This especially involves a business intelligence roadmap, as consistency in tracking is key in specifying exactly the marketing reports that our venture’s marketers need in order to make smart, data-driven decisions in their conceptual as well as in their daily work. Such efforts eventually result in a data warehouse, where all required data and reports can be found.

Walking through our generic marketing plan together with the founding teams we partner with has proven to be very valuable. Expectations, goals and objections get addressed and transferred into concrete project planning, leaving everybody with a clear idea in mind (and on paper) of what steps are ahead of them during the first months, when and by whom they are going to be tackled and what their effect will be.

Structuring recurring marketing efforts this way makes their execution more effective and leaves us with a lot more time for creativity.

In the second part we will focus on how we continuously improve the generic marketing plan together with our later-stage ventures to further optimize their marketing activities and to ensure that we build an asset that all our ventures can benefit from.