Create a Shared Strategic Blueprint (SSB) for Your Inbound Marketing Plan

By Scott Anderson Miller

In 2012, Marketing Matters Inbound set out to simplify the inbound process. They proactively created a flexible inbound plan that actually reduced the traditional reactive nature of marketing. The way in which the team provides marketing solutions and communications for their clients changed and so did their digital marketing success. This restructuring of their internal processes gave rise to what they’ve coined as the Shared Strategic Blueprint (SSB).

An SSB is a mini three-month plan that helps you focus on achieving your business and marketing goals by breaking down your overall strategic plan into manageable parts. The SSB is a method of mapping out your measurable action plan in short sprints. SSBs:

  • Are written three-month action plans in which inbound initiatives are determined by their individual contribution to the milestone objectives

  • Operate off the same SMART goals that you wrote in your inbound strategy

  • Are usually specific to inbound campaigns but can also be applied to your other initiatives

  • Can be used internally and externally when you’re working with outside consultants or inbound marketing firm

The SSB focuses on and brings to light not only what it is that we’re doing, but also forces us always to state why we’re doing it.

The SSB process revolves around four key meetings each year, one meeting every 90 days. During these meetings, your internal team collaborates with all key contributors (including your outsourced marketing team) to answer the following questions or address the following points (arranged here by topic):

  • Reporting

    • What does your IMA tell you are the critical, necessary, and “wish-list” priorities?

    • Establish the metrics you’ll need to hit in order to successfully complete each quarterly SSB.

  • Objectives

    • When you break down your annual plan into concurrent three-month sections, what milestones do you need to achieve at the end of each quarter?

    • Are each of your objectives SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound)?

    • Establish the milestones that help you achieve each quarterly objective to ensure you’ve created a realistic plan to success.

    • What tools and services do you need to help achieve these business goals?

  • Ideation

    • What creative campaigns are best at connecting with your target customers?

    • Brainstorm and document the creative content you need to populate your campaigns?

    • Which marketing initiatives best achieve your objectives? Think beyond the obvious.

    • Consider which personas will be most responsive to your efforts, testing several ideas for bringing your message to market.

    • What types of inbound marketing campaigns will contribute the most to successfully achieving your objectives?

  • Measurement

    • What constitutes success?

    • How will you measure your success against quarterly and annual objectives?

    • How will you determine if your choices from the “Ideation” phase impacted the business in the manner desired?

    • Are the ideal marketing initiatives affordable?

    • What adjustments need to be made?

After each SSB meeting, you’d ideally create a 30/60/90 SSB plan as to how your team will roll out the next set of initiatives to meet the shared objectives. You can see a sample summary here. Effectively, this type of SSB creates an ongoing, monthly schedule to touch base and report back to stakeholders while allowing for larger, more in-depth meetings each year.

A sample SSB summary.

A sample SSB summary.

Your quarterly SSB breaks down tasks that contribute to a desired result after three months. If any task doesn’t contribute to the result, eliminate it. Be brutal in whittling away tasks that don’t contribute; they waste time, energy, and money, and detract from achieving your inbound marketing goals.