First 90 days

Building a roadmap to success, Part II

by Holly Hilton | April 6, 2020

Apiary Digital recently surveyed a select group of performance marketing leaders—from startups, Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between—to learn their secrets to success during the first 90 days in a new position. To capture the pearls of wisdom shared through this survey, we’ve created a blog series, “The First 90 Days.” This is part of the multi-part series.

Based on Apiary’s marketing leadership survey, one of the most commonly cited paths to success during the first 90 days in a new position was building a roadmap to lay the foundation for the next 12+ months. 

While development of a roadmap should be completed within the first 90 days, actual execution takes place over a much longer period of timeand what you capture will most certainly change and evolve. A roadmap is a valuable tool for helping define what you’re not going to pile on and try to tackle todayit’s the perfect filter for focusing on what’s most important right now.  

73.9% of marketing leaders surveyed indicated strategizing, planning, and building out a roadmap is part of their first 90-day success plan.

As mentioned in the previous blog post, an effective approach to building a roadmap is to address it in phases: crawl, walk, and then run. This post covers the “walk” phase. 

Learning to walk: Months 3-12

During this phase of the roadmap, it’s time to expand on early successes (recall those low-hanging fruit, quick-wins you had) and begin building a strong foundation for growth and sustainability. Depending on where your business is at—anywhere from start-up to expansion—the “walk” phase might last 3 months to a year. This phase is where it starts to get a little more complicated with multiple workstreams.

It’s important the “walk” phase of your roadmap answers this question: How do we scale early wins to other parts of our marketing efforts?

Scale early wins

The most effective way to explain the art and science of scaling those low-hanging fruit successes you had in the early days of a new position is through a couple of scenarios. 

Ecommerce scenario. Let’s say in the “crawl” phase of your roadmap, you identified the top-10 selling SKUs and conducted an audit of your Google Shopping program to expand product reach. This effort produced some quick returns. Now, it’s time to apply the same optimization approach to the rest of the product groups, and to the rest of the channels. How can you use display and social to expand brand awareness and search volume on those top products? Can you test shoppable social content on those top SKUs? Take the approach you had on the top-10 SKUs and expand to the mid-level revenue-driving products?

B2B scenario. In the “crawl” phase of the roadmap, you found early success using your highest revenue-driving channel (email) to create a custom audience retargeting list on social and display. To expand on those victories, there are a few options: Focus on growing the email list to fuel your current efforts; grow from retargeting to look-alike prospecting; expand what worked beyond your top country into your global markets; or transfer learnings from paid social audience targeting into programmatic campaigns.

“It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do a thousand things at once. But to really get things done, you have to prioritize and the roadmap is a tool to help you do just that.”

By now, hopefully you’re feeling more confident about the value and purpose of a roadmap and see it as an opportunity to capture all that needs to be done in the future so you can avoid falling into the trap of trying to accomplish too much right away—and succeeding at nothing! Stay tuned for the next post in this content series for insights on how to sustain growth for the long-run—a.k.a., the “run” phase.