90-day marketing plans

The power of using 90-day planning for digital marketing is that it gives you focus on a 90-day period to implement strategic initiatives identified in your annual plan within a more manageable, realistic period than 30-days. This initiatives can relate either to marketing campaigns or always-on activity.

For example you can define always-on marketing activities to ensure that you focus on making improvements each quarter to your inbound marketing activities which can get neglected because of time spent on creating marketing campaigns.

Always-on digital marketing activities such as setting up structured experiments to improve your home page, update an email nurture sequence or content marketing strategy creation are likely to take longer than a few weeks, particularly in larger organizations where discussion and sign-off can be extended.

90-day planning is not novel, companies have planned on a quarterly basis since long before the spreadsheet was invented! What we hope to do is to offer new, practical tools related to our RACE planning framework to support 90-day planning that help marketers plan and manage their marketing more efficiently.

I’m also not suggesting that you should dispense with annual planning as Brian Moran suggests in his 12-week year. This book is an interesting read and we like the way it encourages focus on the here-and-now, but we think annual plans and a roadmap are still essential in larger businesses to identify longer-term strategic initiatives. You need the longer-term context for your operational plans.

The 90-day plan should be informed by campaign and always-on priorities from an annual plan to hit monthly/quarterly targets. We recommend that it covers each of the 20 activities covered within RACE e.g. 3.3 Content strategy, 4.5 CRO so tests and improvements are prioritized each quarter, e.g. this quarter might be ‘improve home page’. This was the original thinking on 90-day marketing planning explaining how an agency used it with their clients. Here is an example of a simple 90-day plan where activities are directed at specific goals:

We have updated our member 90-day marketing plan template since, such that it now based on our RACE planning structure.


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Full details on Amazon:

Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice
8th edition

Digital Marketing Excellence
6th edition

About Smart Insights

Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of digital marketing advice site Smart Insights. We’re a publisher and learning platform that helps our 150,000 active members in over 100 countries plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing activities by applying the actionable advice in our planning templates, guides and interactive e-learning tools.

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