What is a Marketing Roadmap?A marketing roadmap is a plan and timeline for finishing your project or campaign. Like any other roadmap, it should have a clear starting point (start date), waymarkers (project milestones), and destination (deadline). Your roadmap’s format is ultimately up to you. The key is finding an organization method that suits your workflow and keeps your projects in order across your team.
Types of Marketing RoadmapsYou can plan a roadmap for just about any situation. Here are three of the most common types of marketing roadmaps.
Project RoadmapA project roadmap consists of all of the steps needed to launch a marketing project. Within a marketing strategy, a project refers to a single item, such as:
- A blog post
- A newsletter
- An event
- An email
Campaign RoadmapCampaign roadmaps work on a larger scale than project roadmaps. They plan out all the projects involved in a marketing campaign. Your campaign roadmap’s organization can vary. It may include individual projects as steps or delve into each project’s milestones. For more extensive needs, create separate project roadmaps to include in the campaign roadmap.
Strategic RoadmapA strategic roadmap plans at a higher scale than a campaign roadmap, covering all campaigns and projects within a marketing strategy for a year. It allows a detailed tracking of individual campaigns and projects.
What Does a Marketing Roadmap Look Like?A marketing roadmap’s design is flexible and should suit your team’s needs. Here are four examples of common marketing roadmap formats that include ways to use our free templates. We’ll also discuss elements to create an effective organizational tool.
Example 1: Checklist of TasksFor list-oriented individuals, a checklist-based roadmap is recommended. It offers a straightforward overview of project steps, campaigns, or strategies. You can create one in whatever software you prefer. If you use CoSchedule Calendar products, you can take advantage of the Task Templates feature when you want to make a roadmap checklist. Choose from eight, pre-made templates or customize your own to create a task checklist in a snap. Marketers who prefer pen and paper can also write up a checklist and cross off items as they go. Choose a format that you know you’ll use over one that you feel you’re “supposed” to use.
Example 2: Marketing or Content CalendarCalendars are the bread and butter of many marketing operations. A calendar roadmap organizes tasks by date, either with traditional daily sections or divided by day, week, month, or quarter. Our template package includes a wide range of calendars to use as a roadmap. In this general calendar from our templates, you can see the tasks from the previous checklist laid out in a calendar. We included the tasks for a single blog post project in this example, but you can use this calendar to outline multiple projects. Depending on how you like to organize your projects, you can break your roadmap down by project or individual task. You can color code items based on the person responsible or project involved, such as team member. Our package of roadmap templates also features calendars for email newsletters and social media campaigns that use a different format than our general calendar. This email marketing calendar categorizes emails by month. If you visit our blog post about this calendar, you’ll see that it also organizes emails by customer persona, topic, resources, and many other helpful details. Social media marketing can require you to think on a smaller time scale than other types of marketing, so our social media promotion calendar tracks multiple posts per day. Customize the calendar to match your social platforms and posting frequency. For example, adjust rows for Twitter and Facebook based on their respective best practices for posting frequency. CoSchedule makes it easy to create a calendar roadmap with the CoSchedule Calendar feature. You can create and categorize tasks, schedule them and assign them to team members. This ensures everyone can stay up to date on any changes in your roadmap.
Example 3: Kanban BoardKanban boards provide a visual overview of a project’s steps. You might already use one as part of an agile marketing framework. Regardless of the project management approach you use, you might enjoy the drag-and-drop mechanics of a Kanban board — they’re kind of like digital sticky notes.
Kanban board's drag-and-drop mechanics function like digital sticky notes.Click To Tweet
- Moveable cards that each represent a deliverable, such as a campaign or a project.
- Stationary lists that each correspond to a stage in your marketing process.
Example 4: Gantt ChartA Gantt chart creates a visual timeline of what your tasks are and when you need to do them. Once you understand how to interpret a Gantt chart, you can use it to determine:
- What activities you need to do and when they’ll start and end
- Where activities overlap
- When your entire project starts and ends
Elements That All Roadmaps Should IncludeA marketing roadmap that’s easy to understand and actionable should include:
- A clear timeline from the start of your project, campaign, or marketing period to its finish. Define the start and end dates of your work, aling with the time increments for measurement.
- A definition of what “complete” means. Deliverables like blog posts are easy to define as done, but complexities arise when dealing with larget projects like an entire campaign.
- A clear goal that your project or campaign has to achieve. As you plan a task, you should also create marketing objectives that will work as a benchmark for measuring your progress.
How to Plan a Roadmap in 5 StepsNow that you know what a roadmap can look like, it’s time for you to make one for yourself. It’ll take four easy steps to plan a roadmap for your next marketing project.
Step 1: Determine What You Need to Plan
- A project. You can use a roadmap to break down a single deliverable, such as a blog post or white paper.
- A campaign. Roadmaps can also plot out a full campaign, including the projects and tasks involved.
- An annual strategy. If you need to plan on a large scale, you can also use a roadmap to organize your annual marketing strategy.
- Something else. Your imagination’s the limit when it comes to roadmapping. Perhaps you need to plan team operations or combine project planning with campaign planning.
Step 2: Break It All DownAfter defining your plan, break it down into elements, principles, and tasks considering the roadmap’s purpose. For simple project deadlines, less planning is needed compared to a detailed monthly social media calendar. Ask these questions to create your roadmap’s stepping stones:
- What steps are required to complete the deliverable?
- What benchmarks will track progress in this roadmap?
- Which tasks need coordination with your team throughout the roadmap?
The scope of your marketing roadmap will depend on its purpose.Click To Tweet
Step 3: Make a Timeline of How Long Tasks Will TakeNow you can give each of your steps a time estimate. This helpful HubSpot blog post on project estimates explains four methods for estimating time:
- Three-point estimating: Taking the average of your best-case, worst-case, and average time estimate for the project.
- Bottom-up estimating: Getting time estimates from everyone doing the work in your project and adding them together.
- Analogous estimating: Estimating a project’s time based on the time it takes to complete similar projects.
- Parametric estimating: Basing an estimate on internal or external reports and data.
Step 4: Estimate How Long Each Step Will TakeDefine, outline, and order your steps, then assign time estimates to each step. This helpful HubSpot blog post on project estimates explains four methods for estimating time:
- Three-point estimating: Average of best-case, worst-case, and average time estimates for the project.
- Bottom-up estimating: Summing time estimates from all project contributors.
- Analogous estimating: Project time estimation based on similar past projects.
- Parametric estimating: Using internal or external data for the estimate.