Better Stakeholder Management

Marketers and business leaders are constantly being pulled in multiple directions and are often working to multiple priorities. Sometimes it feels like everyone and their dog has an interest in what you are doing, and at any moment someone will pop up with a ‘drive-by’ requirement or concern for immediate attention. It can throw a monkey wrench in that perfectly planned project.

The increasing number of  communication channels, more savvy customers and advancing technologies means that business leaders and marketers must work extra hard to churn out targeted messages that positively engage and satisfy a broad set of stakeholders.

If not carefully managed, disgruntled stakeholders can become problematic as they attempt to have their priorities addressed first which can lead to fire fighting the potential for conflict, poor responsiveness and dis-organised chaos.

9 Tips to Better Stakeholder Management

  1. Do a good stakeholder analysis

There are many different internal, external and connected stakeholders or stakeholder groups connected with your project all with different resources, influence and expectations. The common problems with stakeholder management typically lie somewhere between insufficient preparation, planning and foresight.


  • Identify and analyse your stakeholders using How to do a Stakeholder Analysis
  • Use your Power / Interest grid as a snapshot picture of your priority stakeholder(s) interests, issues and current to future status towards your project / organization
  • Use a red, amber green system and arrows to highlight the current status and shifts needed as a result of your project

Diagram of a sample power interest stakeholder model


  1. Plan your approach to stakeholder management

The resources that you allocate to stakeholder management should be directly proportionate to the size and difficulty of your projects and goals, the time you can make available for communication, and the amount of help that you may need.

Tip: Consider you/ your teams strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) to inform your approach

  1. What do you want from each stakeholder?
  •  The desired support – high, medium, low
  • The desired project role (if any)
  • The desired actions desired (if any)

Tip: Know and understand your strategic goals and how they advance the business objectives to help prioritize stakeholders based on the highest overall business return

  1. Prioritise Stakeholders

There are just not enough hours in the day or money in the bank to service and communicate with everybody and in truth not everyone will advance the pursuit of our goals and objectives.  Decide who to focus on and take a monitoring and/or defend approach to the others on a needs must basis.

Tip: Select primary targets and a second group (optional) to nurture with ‘fill-in’ resources when possible

  1. Draft the key messages to communicate effectively and efficiently

Aligning values, incentives and motivations around your project/ organization requires both effective communication and an active dialogue.On the one hand we need to creatively devise ‘on brand’ key messages for mutual benefit. On the other hand we need to go to war to grab their attention via a combination of ‘best fit’ communication channels (as determined by you), factoring in the level and intensity of communications, actions needed and desired outcomes for each.


  • Create and share a communications matrix for a clear and concise snapshot update throughout the project term
Who to reach Messages Best Channels Desired outcomes Budget


  • Personalized marketing tactics are proving highly effective
  • Internally – align projects with stakeholder’s goals and objectives both vertically and horizontally. Include internal stakeholders early on is the project process as co-developers to aid ‘buy in’ 
  1. Action with small steps

Tip: It is far better to implement your approach with shorter action, goals and review cycles based around 2-way communications and near–time insights. This will enhance your stakeholder relationships based upon frequent and effective dialogue with the key players.

  1. Provide visibility

There are two main principles here. First, we cannot communicate to others something which we do not know about. Secondly, a lack of open communication leaves the door too far ajar for unfavorable assumptions. Both have the potential to undermine your credibility and efforts.


  •  Shape up internally to share news, intelligence and near/ real-time performance updates about the project / organization.  The good news is that it is increasingly possible with various communication and analytical technologies
  • Manage stakeholder expectations early doors with clear expectations about communication, timelines, and budget to help them understand your environment and how best to work together. This will build understanding, your credibility and reliability.
  • It is inevitable that new priorities and work requests will emerge so only allocate up to 70% of your time to planned work to leave time for flexibility
  1. Automate and streamline wherever possible

Tip: Define uniform processes and templates in order to streamline communications between different stakeholders.

  1. How will you know when you have achieved your goals and objectives

 It is a relationship best served and understood by engaging in two-way communications underpinned with appropriate listening methods and a well devised set of KPI’s and metrics that feed your goals and objectives.


  •  Use the 80:20 listening rule – it’s no longer what we say it is… it’s what they think and feel it is
  • Keep the end game at the forefront of your minds and action. Devise and report on KPI’s and metrics that advance the strategic and business objectives. Keep activity metrics at the performance improvement level
  • Track effectiveness and efficiency separately to help optimization


Following these steps will help reduce the impact of stakeholder ‘drive-by’ concerns or requirements that can negatively disrupt project performance and will provide a clear view of the progress being made. The added visibility in particular will also encourage discussions about how implementing any new deliverables will affect outcomes, deadlines, and resources.


About the Author: Marvin Miller is a Marketing Management & Campaigns Specialist who works across multi channel marketing strategy, campaigns and marketing implementation. You can follow his daily updates via Twitter and join his professional network via LinkedIn 

Keep Your Marketing Plans On The Table Instead Of The Shelf

Colleagues at work planning

So it gets to implementation season and it’s time for your marketing plan and campaigns to deliver some excellent business results. Today, one thing is constant for all marketers and that is change, hence the emergence of approaches such as responsive marketing, agile marketing and real-time marketing.

Marketers can no longer rely on drafting an intricate once a year plan to deliver strategic and corporate objectives. That same plan that took weeks or months to put together that often ends up on the shelf during the heat of the action and revisited at the end of the term for review. To really bring great plans to life we need to keep those strategies , plans and campaigns ‘active’  as working documents that lead, control, monitor and develop implementation throughout the term.

As a result your marketing is continually and consistently managed to objectives and strategy so you can deliver highly relevant and effective marketing propositions to your prospects that increases the bottom line.

How to keep your marketing plans ‘active’ and highly effective


Keep in touch with your business environment to get ahead

Scanning your external marketing environment(s) for intelligence and insights can be challenging with research, cost and complexity barriers but going beyond the once a year comprehensive scanning for planning is a necessary evil. Many marketers and business leaders adopt an ongoing reactive scanning approach to capitalize on or firefight sudden business opportunities and threats. Whilst that is essential for an unforeseen small window of change it is when it becomes the routine approach that can leave your organization dangerously lagging behind market moves It is then that your strategy and plans can begin to disintegrate with lower quality responses in the heat of the moment. Marketers are urged take a more proactive approach which involves anticipating potential changes via scenario, contingency and responsive marketing planning to develop action plans in advance.


  1. Identify your needs starting with reliable and relevant secondary data sources and set up incoming feeds via creating twitter lists, custom RSS/blog feeders like Feedly, and Google alerts as necessary
  2. Use EASY free or low cost software technologies to selectively save, organize, assimilate and share all of your key information and data. I personally use Evernote and the Evernote web clipper across all of my devices for this purpose.
  3. Allocate specific time for scanning (skim only unless critical) for key information to save for later review. Then schedule separate time perhaps on a monthly basis to read, share and action as appropriate.
  4. You may find it helpful to schedule a regular block of time as “buffer time” to deal with unexpected situations


Plan – DO – Check – Act

Whatever the method of project managing implementation ensure you underpin the processes, procedures and leadership with a simple Plan – Do- Check –Act (PDCA) loop.  Each cycle of action is followed by reporting and decisions of what to continue, adjust, incorporate and cut back allowing plans to remain current, ‘active’, improved and aligned with strategy and objectives.


  1. Aim for monthly or bi-monthly cycles for plans less than 6 months and a minimum of quarterly for annual plans


Embed a system to identify the need for higher level changes to plans

With the current pace of change in marketing it is important to develop a system to understand and rank the need for adjustments and changes brought on externally or internally as we progress through our plans. Adjustments can be made at a day-to-day activity and operational levels. However changes to plans are likely to have bigger implications at strategic and wider businesses levels that may need significant consideration at the ‘Check’ stage of the project management loop.


  1. For emerging or immediate opportunities use the MoSCoW method to help categorize the need for adjustments and change. MoSCOW stands for:
  • Must – A change that must be implemented to attain the plans objectives
  • Should – A critical adjustment or change that should only be included if possible to do so
  • Could – An adjustment or change that is desirable but not critical to success and can be overlooked if resources are limited
  • Won’t – Nice to have but can be done at a later date
  1. For emerging or immediate threats/risks conduct a risk analysis and use a risk impact/probability chart to prioritize the risks that you face. Then manage each risk.


Leadership quote from Marvinsroom101 instagramBecome increasingly flexible in your tactics

The competitive landscape is becoming increasingly difficult and marketers are expected to do more, achieve more and sometimes with less. Opportunities and threats can emerge at anytime and we need to be able to adapt quickly to ride the waves and avoid the pitfalls to be successful. To do so requires the ongoing commitment to building dynamic capabilities across the business for a more agile marketing approach that supercharges your marketing communications and campaigns via advantageous responsive marketing and real-time marketing.

Responsive marketing takes cues from the near-time customer and competitor insights and values agility and engagement to deliver highly relevant marketing propositions. Tactically, this means listening, more frequent scanning of your marketing environment so you know when and how to interact. Real-time marketing is really a subset of the more strategic, methodical responsive marketing.

Marketers at Oreo were able spark the craze for successful real-time marketing (RTM) with a social media moment during the Superbowl 2013 because they were already highly skilled at responsive marketing.

Not all of us have the resources for opportunistic RTM but many of us can repurpose our resources and planning to properly execute effective near-time responsive marketing with the option to dabble in to significant real-time opportunities. Take the fine example of loosely planned responsive TO real-time marketing by Pantene’s #WantThatHair campaign for the 2013 Oscars that tweeted tips for hairstyles like the celebrities from the red carpet that continued to trend during the 2015 Oscars.


  1. Develop and communicate a framework for responsive marketing tactics as part of marketing planning to ignite the scope for creative ideas across the business
  2. Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate to create, integrate and build capabilities – internally, cross-functionally and externally to leverage and develop your people’s knowledge, skills and experience
  3. You may want to schedule a regular time to discuss and brainstorm new ideas, set objectives that encourage creativity. Use free collaborative tech solutions such as Trello or any existing system functionality to share and develop ideas from the desk

About the Author: Marvin Miller is a Marketing Management & Campaigns Specialist who works across multi channel marketing strategy, campaign strategy and marketing implementation. You can follow his daily updates via Twitter and join his professional network via LinkedIn 

The 7 Pillars of Content Marketing Strategy

Simply put, without a content marketing strategy in place there would be no road map that outlines your plans to advance your organisational goals supported by metrics or milestones, in a clearly aligned and integrated way.

There are two crucial factors to bear in mind about your content strategy. The first is to view it as a framework that sets the focus for creativity and innovation processes that produce a highly effective portfolio of paid, owed and earned content. The second is that content strategy is an integrated marketing philosophy closely linked with the sales funnel, search marketing via keywords, and social media although it should ideally come before social media strategy and ultimately help shape it.

Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, quality content should underpin all forms of your offline and/or online marketing.

 How to devise a content marketing strategy


A diagram of the 7 pillars of content marketing

Plan for Purpose
– Specifying the smart strategic objectives and the goals. Have clearly defined business goals with content that are the overarching reason every piece of content exists.


  • Include a content marketing mission statement to provide better focus for tactics
  • Aim to conquer the 3 prongs of content marketing – Socialise, Publicise AND Optimise
  • The strategy should be a framework that ignites creativity and innovation so avoid it being too prescriptive and limiting
  • Be familiar with the types of content marketing goals:

Common Content Marketing Goals

– Includes the overview of the current intelligence about your target segments or personas and positioning. Continue to develop your target personas and communicate intelligence to your people.


  • Develop personas to target – Two simple ways to do this are
    • For B2C – As a starting point is use Google Analytics to find out details like age, gender, and understand journeys through your website via clicks and times on site
    • For B2B – Use at least one of the following in order of popularity according to Content Marketing Institute B2B research: Industry trends; the profiles of individual decision makers; company characteristics; stage in the buying cycle
  • Resources permitting, look for synergies between your online personas and offline personas for a more holistic view

People – The details of the tasks, timescales, responsibilities and procedures for everyone in the content process including cross-functional colleagues and external partners.


  • Consider the role of third-party content e.g user generated content, guest blogs etc towards the bigger picture
  • Influential and collaborative leadership skills are best suited towards managing external partnership relationships including influencer marketing. Analyse whether their goals, resources and capabilities are the right fit and a collaborative partnership can flourish. For more guidance perhaps read ‘Better stakeholder management’

Storyline and Principles – The brand storyline for the campaign(s) and the fundamental propositions that are the foundations for conversations including style guides, tone and design guidance.


  • Before doing content marketing identify your unique brand story and values. To do so use the ‘who, what, were, why, when and how’ technique or the ‘5 Whys’ technique
  • You want to provide a framework to create kick ass content that adds value, solves a pain point or entertains whilst infusing it with your brand story to develop unique content propositions
  • Don’t limit your brand. Your content can go beyond what you sell to what your target audience loves and shares such as the case of Red Bull’s content focuses on extreme sports

Channels – The decisions in light of your plan and audience(s) as to where you will source, create, publish and amplify content


  • Plan the journey and tailor to the channels – Consider ‘who’ are our targets segments (personas), ‘what’ content resonates best ‘ and where’ best to find them
  • Stress the need to select keywords that align with your goals for website and content strategy
  • Integrate with offline content – utilize mind maps to help develop strategy with a structure that assists information architecture

Processes – Highlighting a series of actions to repeat with each piece of content, including set of criteria for sign-off.


  • Provide scope for real-time marketing (RTM) or reactive marketing (near-time) including integrating your crisis communications protocols that deal with negative PR and trolls
  • For outsourcing content creation aim to write outstanding ‘on brand’ and to objective content briefs
  • Set realistic timelines for content production and distribution
  • Use technology to collaborate around content ideas and processes. For instance, I use apps like Trello and Evernote that operate and synchronise across desktop and mobile devices

Performance Measurement – Specifying the budget, benchmarks and measurement. This is not just ROI, shares and likes, but must be related back to purpose.


  • Devise a good hierarchy of organisational goals from top line KPI’s through to headline content success metrics and then lower level content optimization metrics
  • For ROI measurement work towards arriving at a point where you can calculate your costs across – Planning, Ideation, Production, Distribution, Measurement. Use a consolidated set of analytic tools and invest the time ahead of every campaign to set up tagging, grouping and tracking which will pay dividends for more accurate real-time / near-time tracking of your content marketing ROI

With these tips hopefully you will be on your way to creating or adjusting your content marketing strategy and producing better results. Be sure to add any further tips and best practices that work for you in the comments below.

About the Author: Marvin Miller is a Marketing Management & Campaigns Specialist who works across multi channel marketing strategy, campaigns and marketing implementation. You can follow his daily updates via Twitter and join his professional network via LinkedIn 

How to do a Stakeholder Analysis

Every organisation and marketing campaign has a number of stakeholders armed with the ability to positively or negatively affect the outcomes of your projects. That’s why from experience I found that it is better to proactively build relationship management in to the planning process to identify, communicate and monitor who needs to know what, when, why and how. To arrive at that point the cornerstone of successful stakeholder relationship management is a good stakeholder analysis.

How to do a Stakeholder Analysis

  1. Identify

There are many different internal, external and connected stakeholders or stakeholder groups connected with your project all with different resources, influence and expectations. A great way to identify them is to combine your business’ existing knowledge, fill the gaps with market scanning and brainstorm based on the six markets model or relationship marketing, as below:

6 stakeholder markets - internal referral recruitment influence customer

  1. Analyse
  •  Map your stakeholders using Mendelow’s Power / Interest grid to help you to identify your priority stakeholder(s)
  • Highlight their key interests and issues surrounding your project / business and their current status towards it. By attitude we mean whether they are advocates, supporters, neutrals, critics, or blockers.
  • Use a red, amber green system and arrows to highlight the current status and shifts needed as a result of your project

As a result you should you should end up with a snapshot map that looks like the following:

Diagram of a sample power interest stakeholder model

Note that each should contain brief information on their interests and issues.

When you arrive at this point you are ready for better project results with my post on better stakeholder management

About the Author: Marvin Miller is a Marketing Management & Campaigns Specialist who works across multi channel marketing strategy, campaigns and marketing implementation. You can follow his daily updates via Twitter and join his professional network via LinkedIn