Want Marketing Results? Build a Roadmap

Marketing Success Starts With A Plan … A Story Plan

Over 100 entrepreneurs have launched their startups with our team at Mindbox Studios. After watching some of our early startup clients fail to launch after building the software they thought they needed, we took all of the lessons learned and designed a new approach to help more of our software owners succeed.

Enter Story Plans

The methodology we created from those lessons is called a Story Plan. It started as a way to help our software clients to clarify their idea, create a product roadmap, a go-to-market strategy, a brand, and much more.

This consultative, pre-project collaboration provides the tools a software owner needs to secure more resources, a huge cost savings in final development and implementation costs, and a pathway to a successful launch.

The Story Plan approach has brought our studio and our customers a long way. It’s a tool that can be revisited and refined as often as necessary.

An Outline for Discovery

When we recently expanded our services to include marketing, we faced a few challenges. Offering marketing and customer acquisition services to new customers often means working with products and businesses that are new to us. We didn’t build their software, create their go-to-market, or help them develop their idea.

We have to start from a place of discovery: identifying business goals, existing systems, projects and pain points. In response, we designed a new Story Plan service for customers who have already built a product or business and are ready to grow.

Story Plans Meets Marketing

At first, we weren’t sure if there would be a true value to our marketing clients, so we included it for free as a way to on-board our internal team. A few clients later, we started having conversations about how we were able to systematically address issues, drive growth month after month, and constantly drive our clients marketing efforts.

For us, it was a no brainer. We were just following the marketing roadmap that we created for free during the on-boarding process.

At this point, we didn’t really know what we had done. As a team that was formed out of a dev studio, this stuff was a no brainer. Then it happened … a client had a change in marketing leadership and completely pivoted from our roadmap.

Realizing a Need

This is something that we were fine with and on some levels were surprised that it didn’t happen sooner. What we didn’t expect was how the client would react. Since we hadn’t ever brought the client into the Story Plan process, they had the impression that we had developed a one-size fits all approach to marketing.

On our side, we expected their team to quarterback this new marketing strategy … needless to say there was an obvious misalignment that took weeks to resolve and almost led to us losing the client.

We quickly went back to the Story Plan stage, created a new marketing roadmap, and brought our ‘A Game’ to the next meeting.

Story Plans are Essential

For us, this was one of those rare lightbulb moments. We quickly realized the value of Story Plan for marketing and made it a requirement for any new client or major strategy pivots for a long-term client.

The truth is that marketing often falls into this cycle of repetitive tasks and actions with increased spend.

That strategy can work, until one day it doesn’t. Systematic development and road-mapping is something that is unique to software and product development. We would call this versioning and it’s how companies drive growth on the product side.

Oddly enough, marketing often attempts to accomplish the same task simplistically by updating funnel metrics annually. This may be a generalization, but it happens A LOT.

Marketing Story Plans can be valuable to organizations at any phase, especially in cases where the marketing strategy seems rote and stale. Our team has learned to adopt our marketing Story Plans for a variety of use cases. We now use the marketing Story Plan process to outline every new project that comes into the studio. This includes marketing automation, paid ad campaigns, full-service clients, stack-alignment projects, really… anything.

Start a Story Plan

Get in touch if you’d like to talk about your marketing strategy. The first step will be creating a Story Plan together.

About the Author: Jesse Williams is a young entrepreneur, husband, father, technologist, and SaaS marketing expert. You can follow him on Twitter and learn more about him and his projects here.