Trending November 2023 # Three Strategic Planning Tools To Shape Your Multichannel Marketing Strategy # Suggested December 2023 # Top 15 Popular

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A review of different frameworks covering the customer journey, brand and content

Today, consumers do not search, engage and consume information within individual channels while making purchase decisions. Their journeys are fluid and choices are influenced by multiple channels, devices and screens, and a vast array of content, both online and offline. Therefore the challenge for businesses today is to understand how their customers behave and to establish a multichannel marketing strategy to effectively communicate with prospects in the right channel, at the right time. The frameworks and digital marketing models I review in this post can help build communications around the consumer rather than a product.

Business challenges in a hyper-connected world

Businesses face many challenges today, all of which impact the scope and effectiveness of marketing strategy. Some of the stand-out challenges include:

Device proliferation 

Smartphones, 4G coverage and social media has redefined how we consume media.


The average UK household today has on average 7.4 connected devices.

With so much distraction, consumers’ attention is at a premium and therefore marketers must put the right mechanisms in place to understand how people and devices can be targeted, e.g. 2nd/ 3rd screening

Consumer expectations

Despite the hullabaloo surrounding Millennials and how businesses should market to them, there’s a good reason for this concern. The Millennial cohort is an example of a demographic that is always connected, always on and always looking for control, and a reminder of the changing face of the media consumer.


Hype around new technologies and innovations can be distracting and unless this is tempered can result in ‘Shiny New Object Syndrome’

Businesses must always align innovation with relevance and value, for both consumer behaviour and the business itself.

Resources such as Gartner’s Hype Cycle can provide very useful insights


Perhaps the biggest barrier to innovation for many businesses is structure and culture:

Marketing ecosystem

Other barriers include education, leadership and ideation:

Innovation Index

Developing a culture where digital is embraced and integrated rather than siloed gives marketers a much better opportunity to understand and appeal to consumers.


“Customers expect a consistent experience across all of their touch points with companies and product” – Dwight Griesman, CMO, Forrester

Customers do not differentiate between channels, regardless of how a business is structured internally, e.g. brand, marcomms, digital, ecommerce etc.

Three key tools for multichannel marketing planning

The process of crafting a multichannel marketing strategy is not straightforward and takes time to implement. There are a number of very useful guides on how to take this step-by-step and Smart Insights’ Multichannel Marketing Growth Wheel provides an excellent overview:

In light of the challenges outlined above, I’m going to focus on section three of the Multichannel Marketing Growth Wheel (‘How we get there?’) and highlight three tools and frameworks that marketers can use to shape their thinking to form an approach to strategy and the development of a proposition:

The three frameworks cover the following areas:

Customer journey



Defining the customer journey using ZMOT

Considering the world we live in today, what is a typical customer journey?

The truth is that there isn’t a typical journey and our influence as marketers is often limited. Journeys vary by industry, brand and category and can be extremely simple or complex, as illustrated by these two contrasting examples:

Booking a holiday:

In this example of booking a holiday, over a 28 day period and lots of shopping around (aggregators, tour operators, review sites), First Choice gets the business in the end following a search once again for “corfu holidays” (which was the query that began their journey). Booking a holiday is an important purchase for many people and therefore consumers take their time to ensure they make the right choice.

Car insurance: 

Buying insurance is shorter and more direct and is often considered to be a ‘hygiene’ activity that we need, rather than want, to do. In addition to price, consumers also tend to stick with brands they believe to have delivered trust and consistency in the past. If the experience was positive before, people continue to buy.

So how can we approach analysing and planning for different customer journeys?

A US study by Carat and Microsoft revealed three basic patterns in shoppers’ paths to purchase, suggesting that it’s often better to think about journeys from the consumer mindset rather than as touchpoints:

With this insight in mind, and despite many different types of customer journey frameworks available, Google’s Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) provides a very useful model that combines both consumer mindset and touchpoints to evaluate the customer journey:

When originally published in 2011, ZMOT suggested that whilst the first moment of truth was in front of the shelf and that the second moment of truth occurred through product trial and experience, the zero moment of truth happened largely online, using multiple journeys and multiple devices.

The useful aspect of ZMOT is that rather than replacing the traditional sales funnel, it adds another layer of context. Different channels play different roles at different stages of the journey:

The ZMOT model has evolved over the last five years which can be seen in Google’s publication of micro moments. However, I still believe it provides a useful frame of reference and a valuable tool for marketers.

Understanding brand purpose using the Golden Circle

What is your brand values and purpose? What do you stand for? How do you differentiate versus the competition?

Your brand and business identity is an integral part of how you communicate with customers so it’s therefore essential to have a clear understanding of the purpose that both drives you as a business and inspires consumers to buy from you. One of the tools that I have found to be particularly useful in articulating brand purpose and why you do what you do is Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle marketing model:

Whilst every company knows what they do (e.g. we make widgets), only some clearly know how they do it (the differentiating value proposition or USP). However, it’s sometimes surprising to learn that very few clearly know why they do what they do. The ‘why’ is the fundamental belief and reason for our existence and should be at the very heart of everything we do.

Simon Sinek argues that when you communicate from the outside-in you are simply competing on features, price and add-ons. This is not inspiring and doesn’t give people a reason to believe in your product, service or cause.

In contrast, good leaders and brands act and communicate from the inside-out. They explain why they do what they do before talking about what they do and how they do it. For example, Apple don’t start by saying they make great computers. Instead, the foundation of much of their communication revolves around their beliefs in thinking differently which sets a tone and inspires loyalty.

The Golden Circle is a simple but effective framework that enables you to define:

Establishing a clear understanding of your purpose and raison d’être will give you confidence and clarity regarding the multichannel marketing options that align best with your brand.

Establishing content excellence using the Content Marketing Matrix

Content forms the bedrock of everything we do as marketers and therefore the format, structure and type of content we choose to produce to engage consumers must be consistent with our strategy and objectives.

Smart Insights’ Content Marketing Matrix is an excellent framework for generating ideas and identifying the most engaging content types for different audiences:

As Danyl Bosomworth explains in his blog post introducing the framework:

“Our matrix is structured to help you think through the dimensions of different content based on how your audience might think and what you’re trying to achieve as a business. What will work where your audience are more or less impulsive or rational? What does that mean for content creation and marketing goals? Depending on the quadrant(s) that you feel drawn to for your audience, it offers a starting point for your ideas generation”.

If we think about the multichannel approach, we can see how the Content Marketing Matrix can be applied to different channel options to give our strategy or campaign depth:

And another benefit of the Content Marketing Matrix is that different content types can be used alongside customer journey models, such as ZMOT, to understand where content can entertain, inspire, educate and convince consumers are different stages of the decision-making process:


Marketing today is a complex process which has made the marketer’s role much more complicated than it once was previously in a predominantly broadcast media landscape.

Today’s media landscape is much more fragmented, consumers’ attention is harder to obtain and technology is constant influence on consumer decision-making. To stand-out and be relevant in such a noisy environment requires precision and flexibility.

However, with careful planning and the use of models such as those we’ve looked at in this post, we can begin to analyse different customer journeys, understand where our brand plays a role in the communication process and assess the content needed to make an impact and drive action.

You're reading Three Strategic Planning Tools To Shape Your Multichannel Marketing Strategy

How Event Marketing Should Fit Into Your Online Marketing Strategy

When it comes to promoting products and services, organizing events offers opportunities for companies to effectively raise the level of public attention and generate interest around their brand. While the means by which companies have capitalized on such events differ, at inSegment we have discovered that integrating a strategic digital marketing campaign throughout each step of the planning process—before, during, and after—will result in the overall reduction of costs and a substantial increase in the marketing ROI of the event.

Plan at every stage of the event to create a memorable experience for your existing and potential customers. This includes the pre-planning and the final evaluation stage, which should help you assess the overall success. Carefully approaching the campaign from every angle and understand that setting up KPIs increases the likelihood of having a productive and rewarding event for your business.

Before the Event

Supplementing your event with effective online marketing tactics boosts chances of increased attendance, interest, and overall success. Tactics as simple as promoting upcoming events via social media are being used by marketers for optimized lead generation, with 59% of marketers using social media for 6 hours or more each week.

Here are some tips for approaching your strategy:

Setup a private company event at the tradeshow or conference. Rent a suite and do a special seminar, insider’s group event or a party. You can even sell (or comp) tickets for this event by using a ticketing program, such as Eventzilla, to accept payments and issue tickets. Eventzilla has tools to promote your events through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. It also allows you to send email blasts to people who signed up, letting them know about logistical changes.

Give bonuses for those who promote your event postings on social media. Many brands will give out free parking at the event or merchandise when fans prove they are following the group dedicated to event on Facebook. If you have any participating sponsors, invite your followers to like their pages as well, for a possible discount or to enter a raffle.

If your company executives give a keynote speech or a master class at the industry event, display an event countdown. Include a speaker’s bio and links to their personal website and/or social media profiles. Get people excited and show them how they will benefit from the attending the presentation.

Use social media software, such as HootSuite or Buffer, to schedule and organize your posts during the weeks leading up to the event. This will help you keep track of what to post and when, and you can easily discover trends within your most successful posts. Be adaptable – if certain posts aren’t performing great, explore different methods. Find out which one works most effectively with analytics tools offered by these platforms.

During the Event

Invite attendees to use the hashtag that you create specifically for the event. This is an excellent way to get people talking, and collect all the videos and photos taken by the guests. Take it a step further and provide a prize for the most creative photo using your hashtag.

Plan time to organize face-to-face meetings for your customers, partners and journalists with your company executives during lunch breaks, after-hours cocktail or reception. Not only will they feel appreciated, but networking at your event can be the catalyst towards future business opportunities or getting favorable press coverage.

After the Event

Even after the last guest leaves, you are still far from finished. Go the extra mile and leave a lasting impression on your guests by assuring every one of them that they were vital to the event’s success. Here are a few tactics to really wow your attendees:

Send follow up emails to each guest. Remind them that the event would not have been possible without them. Keeping in contact with your guests long after the event is finished is a great way to make them remember you. Use a separate nurturing stream utilizing your marketing automation system, such as Marketo, Eloqua or Pardot.

Thank the guest speakers you invited, even if they couldn’t make it. This will show them that you still value their expertise and will be grateful if they participate in your next event.

Don’t forget to update your event app or microsite with the recap of the event and give an opportunity for them to sign up for a newsletter to get future events updates.

To Wrap Up…

A great supplement to any company’s event marketing, online tools can reap big rewards when done with purpose. An extensive understanding of your company’s selling points, relentless planning, and killer online marketing campaign is key to success.

Image Credits

Screenshot taken April 2023

Ryan Lynch: Introducing Modern Sales Intelligence Solutions Through Strategic Business Planning

Business leaders know data is at the heart of enterprise development and growth. But how they use that data is what distinguishes companies from their competitors. That’s where sales and marketing intelligence come in. The data generated from these areas translates to lead generation and stronger connections with target audiences. By anchoring the needs of businesses in data-backed sales strategies, Kforce provides business leaders with the right solutions to meet their goals and make an impact on the global economy.

Kforce is an award-winning solutions firm that specializes in technology and other professional staffing services. The company’s customer-centric solutions enable world-class, outcome-driven results. Kforce’s team is comprised of experts who understand the intricacies, challenges, and pain points that business leaders encounter daily. The company delivers the best possible results so that leaders can deploy development and growth strategies throughout their organizations. This team approach in tackling the largest challenges for the world’s most prominent companies is just one reason Kforce’s solutions group has become the go-to team for innovation.

A People-First Leader Simplifying Technical Problem Solving 

Ryan executes his job with a people-first approach and always keeps client value at the forefront. In his 10 years with Kforce, Ryan has earned the firm’s annual top performer award seven times. He is also a 2023 Dick Maddock award recipient. The Dick Maddock award is the highest honor an individual can receive at Kforce.

A Paradigm Shift in Client Engagement Platform 

Ryan describes Sales Intelligence Strategy as bringing together seemingly disconnected data sources to provide targeted, client-specific solutions. This takes the best parts of staffing and consulting services and packages them in a way that accelerates a business’ ability to address change. In addition to keeping his eye on an ever-evolving approach to the market, Ryan established a client engagement platform to track, manage and grow Kforce’s partnerships with each successful project. He also refined the sales pipeline and management process. These are just a few of the reasons Ryan has been tapped to explore how this innovation can make a difference across all aspects of Kforce. 

Kforce’s Evolution as a World Class Solutions Firm

Growth and innovation are key elements in the staffing and solutions industry.  Kforce relies on its people’s unique ability to identify and shape next-generation solutions. This is an unsurpassed differentiator in the eyes of its customers, resulting in more than double the number of solutions team members over the last two years. The COVID-19 pandemic and sweeping technology upgrades are just two examples of how the industry is constantly changing. Ryan’s leadership and innovative nature helps the firm better serve its clients. This industry-leading approach identifies more effective workflow opportunities and helps clients quickly adapt to change.

Technology as a Backbone Across Business Operations 

The first step of Sales Intelligence Strategy is to evaluate the opportunity. Working with clients during upfront discovery shortens the delivery timeline while increasing quality. This process is counter to standard industry practices but has proven highly effective. Ryan and the solutions team have been able to help clients reduce hiring times by up to 85% and execute their most challenging technology initiatives, including moving to the cloud, rebuilding enterprise data warehouses, and reimagining customer interactions and experiences. The Sales Intelligence Strategy helps clients maximize their spend, decrease their time to market and mitigate risk while obtaining world-class outcomes aligned to their organizational objectives.

A New Beginning for Limitless Changes  Soaring High with Innovation 

5 Best Resource Capacity Planning Tools For Teams

As an undertaking director, you’re continually haggling to track down the best assets for your group. That is on the grounds that having the right assets can represent the moment of truth in a task.

In this article, you’ll find out about the tools that help you design and deal with your group’s ability. You’ll likewise learn:

What is capacity planning?

What is the importance of capacity planning?

What types of capacity planning are there?

What factors affect capacity planning?

Let’s get started.

What is capacity planning?

Teams and organizations need the right resources to complete projects. These resources could be people, budget, or tools.

This is what capacity planning is about. Capacity planning can be described as:

Accessing the right resources at the right moment will ensure that you get your project on time and with high quality. Having no access to the right resources can cause delays or even complete derailment of your project.

Why is capacity planning important?

Planning for capacity utilizationOptimizes business operations is. It also helps them.Understand the budget requirements acquiring, allocating, and managing resources.

In order to deliver quality work, project teams need the right resources.

The following is an extract from theGlobal Work Culture ReportOver 79 percent of employees will experience burnout in 2023. Your employees are at risk of burnout. These employees include:

2.6 times as likely to leave their current employer

220 percent less engaged

210 percent less likely to promote the business

Let’s now look at the types of capacity planning.

What are the types of capacity planning?

There are three types of capacity modeling techniques depending on:

planning level,

capacity goals,

and, strategies used.

Based on the capacity planning level

Capacity planning at the organization level: This is where the organization decides whether it has enough skilled workers. This helps to decide whether a hiring process is necessary.

Allocation of resources at the project level: A manager at the project level identifies available resources and requests allocations for a project. Find out more resource allocation here.

Management of workload at the individual level: You must monitor each member of your team individually to prevent burnout. This will ensure that team members are not overwhelmed or under-worked.

Based on the capacity goal

Capacity for short-term use: Teams may increase or decrease the number of employees depending on seasonality or customer demand. Capacity plans for short-term can be for one day, one week, one month, or even a quarter.

Capacity for medium-term use: This is a common option for projects lasting from one to three years.

Capacity for the long-term: The time frame for planning depends on the industry. Experts often look at trends in the industry to forecast the demand for capacity. The forecasts are used to plan capacity.

Based on capacity fulfillment strategy

Strategy to increase lead capacity: This is when you increase your capacity to meet demand. This strategy can often lead to underutilized capacity.

Strategy to reduce lag capacity: The lag capacity strategy will only allow you to increase capacity when there is actual demand. This strategy can lead to overworked teams and delayed projects.

Strategy to match capacity: This is when the capacity is increased in small increments to meet demand.

What are the factors affecting team capacity planning?

Demand and availability are the basic factors that affect capacity planning. Three other factors are important when it comes to team project planning.

Project schedule: The project schedule determines the amount, time, and type of resources that are needed.

Human resources: Capacity planning is directly affected by compensation, training, and retention of employees within an organization.

Also read: 7 Best Woocommerce Plugins to boost your Store you must know

What are the steps involved in resource capacity planning?

We now know what capacity planning is. Let’s take a look at the steps involved.

Current capacity: Firstly, you need to determine the current capacity. This will allow you to optimize your resources for your project.

Determine demand: To estimate the demand for new resources capacity, you should first look at the project schedule and available resources. This demand can also be affected by external factors.

Consolidation opportunities: Third, determine if it is possible to restructure existing resources in order to meet the demand. You can find underutilized members of your team who are able to meet the demand.

Plan your capacity: Next, make a plan that outlines the actions you must take to meet the current and future demand.

Finally, take action.

5 Best Resource Capacity Planning Tools for Teams

We’ve already learned a lot about capacity planning. We also learned about the process of capacity planning and the different types.

Let’s now look at some tools that can help make this process easier. Five tools will be discussed, ranging from the simple to the complex. While some tools are free, others can run into the thousands for enterprise tools.

1. Toggl Plan — Simple Project, Task & People Management

Toggle Plan is a simple tool for project planning and execution. It can also be used to manage workload and team capacity.

The team timeline view helps to manage team resources. This team timeline view displays:

A big picture overview You can see who is working on which projects. This will allow you to see which team members are too spread out.

Task estimates To help you find under- or overworked members of your team.

Tem member Vacation and holiday plans so you can plan around incompatibility.

You can also zoom in on a week or quarter or a whole year. This allows for goal-based capacity planning, whether it is short, medium, or long term.

Toggle Plan’s project timeline makes creating a project plan easy. The plan timeline schedule assigns tasks to team members. These tasks are automatically synchronized with the team timeline.


Toggl Plan, a project management tool, is simple and includes task management, project planning, and people management.

There is a free plan available for individuals with unlimited project plans. Paid plans for teams start at $9 per user per month. You get a 14-day trial.


There are many templates online. You don’t need to start from scratch.


It can be difficult to keep your sheets current and track changes.

It is nearly impossible to work in teams.


3. Teamup — Shared online calendar for teams

Teamup is a shared calendar for teams.

You can schedule work by placing people, events, or places on color-coded sub-calendars.

Also read: Blocked On Snapchat: Figure Out What-To-Do, The Fixes, and FAQs Pros

Use this calendar view to plan team meetings and other events.

Sub-calenders for color-coded plans make it easier to manage visually.


There is no way to gain a short-term or long-term view of your work capacity.

The majority of office suites include a calendar app. You may not need to purchase a separate calendar for your team.


The free plan only allows you to use 8 sub-calendars. Premium plans start at $8 per Month

4. 2Plan — Open source project planning software

2Plan is an open-source project planning software. It lacks the user interface and experience of other open-source tools that can help your team quickly get on board.

Toggl Plan is similar to 2Plan.

It has basic time tracking capabilities, which is a plus. It is not a hosted solution. You will need to download, install and maintain the software yourself.


Open-source and free

Available in a desktop version that can be used by one user


Poor user experience. This will mean you’ll spend less time training your team.

The tool will need to be installed and maintained by you.


2Plan is an open-source, free capacity planning software.

5. Saviom— Enterprise resource planning tool

Saviom is a capacity planning tool for large enterprises with formal operational efficiency improvement programs.

It has all the necessary features to optimize resource usage. Small and medium teams might find the price and user experience intimidating.


Comprehensive resource management tool.

Ideal for enterprise users.


Small and medium tools can find the user interface intimidating.

For onboarding, you will need to complete formal education in resource management.


Also read: 10 Best Android Development Tools that Every Developer should know


We examined what capacity planning is and how it is done. We also looked at strategies and types of managing resource capacity. We also looked at the factors that influence it.

This process can be simplified by using capacity planning tools.

There are several capacity planning and resource management tools available. Toggl Plan is a good choice if you are looking for a simple tool to manage people, tasks, and projects.

Daniel Abbott

Daniel Abbott is editor in chief & research analyst at The Next Tech. He is deeply interested in the moral ramifications of new technologies and believes in leveraging the data scientist, research and content enhancement to help build a better world for everyone.

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12 Tools That Can Improve Your Marketing Funnel

Have you ever been in a situation when you’ve done everything you could to sell your product, but people didn’t buy it? You may have a fantastic product, a lot of great ideas and motivation to run your business, but unfortunately, that is not always enough to succeed. This blog will review how optimizing your marketing funnel can help you overcome this dilemma!

According to Forbes, eight out of ten entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within 18 months. If you don’t want to repeat their fate as a businessman, you need to understand how to sell your product or service. To do that, you need to be able to build an effective marketing funnel.

Download our Individual Member Resource – Inbound marketing Quick Wins template

Our template includes the latest inbound marketing techniques across the full customer lifecycle structured around the Smart Insights RACE planning approach so you can apply a consultant’s approach yourself by following the questions you need to ask.

Access the Inbound marketing Quick Wins template

In this article, we will share 12 tools you can use to improve your marketing funnel. The tools are sorted into their respective groups to make everything easier to follow.

Tools for creating lead magnets

The average time people spend on a page is only 15 seconds. This means that a big chunk of visitors that are on your site for the first time won’t remember you for long, even if they found the information they came for.

That’s why it’s important to build email lists or pick up other contact info such as telephone numbers. This gives you the ability to follow up with your prospects and lead them through your funnel. What is the best way to get that valuable contact information? The answer is lead magnets.

Over the years, marketers came up with a wide variety of different lead magnets – ebooks, checklist, white papers, quizzes, contests, webinars, to name just a few.

However, great lead magnets don’t just pop-up out of thin air. You need to create them. Luckily, there are a lot of different tools you can use to speed up the process of creating any type of lead magnet we just mentioned.

Here are some of our favorites:


Did you ever thought about transforming your blog posts, podcasts, or videos into lead magnets but gave up on that idea because it was too much work? You can use Designrr to automate the whole process and quickly create eBooks, Flipbooks, and Transcripts you can use as your next lead magnets.

Canva Typeform Wishpond

If you want to take interactivity to a whole new level and focus more on user-generated content, Wishpond can help you smoothly run a variety of social media contests.

When do you need these tools?

The answer is almost always.

You need incentives to pull visitors into your funnel. All of these tools give you an ability to provide incentives that are strong enough to get that valuable contact info.

A great time to explore your options is if you are in the process of building up your website and you are still unsure what kind of incentives you can or should offer.

For those that have been running their business for a while and want to spice things up, it is never too late to look at different lead magnet ideas and then search for tools that can help you create whatever caught your eye.    

Grow your business and professional marketing skills

Rapidly gain the skills to reach and convert more customers with 30% off RACE Framework training

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Tools for creating landing pages

Some marketers don’t believe in landing pages because they haven’t had a reasonable conversion rate or think it takes too long to create one. However, these days you don’t need to hire a designer or developer to build a highly converting landing page.


One of the most robust tools on the market for creating landing pages is Leadpages. It offers a variety of different features like:

Website builder

Landing page builder

Pop-ups and alert bars builder

Facebook Ad builder

In terms of creating landing pages, you will be interested to know that it offers mobile responsive themes, drag and drop page building, unlimited A/B testing, plenty of integrations with popular tools, real-time optimization tips, and a huge base of templates to choose from.


If you want a tool whose sole focus is landing pages, you can give Landingi a try. When it comes to building landing pages, Landingi boasts very similar features such as simple drag and drop builder, huge list of integrations, split testing, responsive templates, and decent analytics.

You can even send your design files and the team will import it into your Landingi account.

When should you create landing pages?

There are a lot of solid landing page builders out there and most of them offer more or less the same features. With that in mind, workflow and pricing will play the biggest role in deciding which one is best for you.

Two main elements differentiate a landing page from your run of the mill pop-up offers:

Landing pages give you more space to work with and build a high-conversion copy.

Properly built landing pages eliminate unnecessary distractions and keep visitors focused on your unique selling proposition.

Because of these differences, landing pages are more suitable for targeting prospects that are closer to the bottom of your funnel. Why? As you can imagine, it takes more persuasion to convince someone to start a trial or buy a product than to leave you their email address in return for some checklist.

Here are a few additional situations where landing pages can be really useful:

You can build landing pages that welcome referral traffic generated from affiliate marketing.

Funnel mapping tools

Based on the sales funnel diagram, it seems like the funnel has a linear structure. But in reality, the marketing funnel is not that simple.

People are attacked by tons of information every day. When they come across your product, they might want to see and try other options. It might take weeks or even months before potential clients get back to your funnel and make a purchase. Things get messy over time, and this is where funnel mapping can help.

The stages of your funnel

Lead magnets

Landing pages

Traffic sources and more

Simply put, funnel mapping is just a visual representation of your sales funnel. This representation includes everything:

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best tools for funnel mapping out there.


Creating a funnel may sound easy at first, but the devil is in the details. Try Funnelytics – an app that allows you to design your sales funnel with a drag and drop feature. You can use templates of marketing funnels and customize them.


Funnelflows is another neat tool that can help you build and visualize your marketing funnels. What separates it from similar mind-mapping tools is that it is built specifically for this purpose. You can use a wide variety of premade elements to quickly visualize any type of marketing funnel.

When do you need to visualize your funnel?

While many marketers will at least outline their funnels on a piece of paper or a whiteboard, sometimes that isn’t enough.

If you need to build a complex funnel with a lot of branching, building an accurate visual representation can point you to potential problems, as well as give you ideas on how to further optimize the whole process.

On top of that, having it in a digital format allows for easier sharing and collaboration with both clients and different team members.

Lead generation tools Intercom Snitcher

Another interesting tool used for lead generation you can give a try is Snitcher.

Snitcher integrates with your Google Analytics account to retroactively identify who has visited your site, how they found it, and give you an idea of what they were looking for. It also gives you an ability to segment those visitors based on their company’s attributes and actions they performed on your website.

However, keep in mind that people who did not directly leave you their contact information often aren’t ready to buy so be very careful how you approach them. If you are too pushy, likely, you will never get a response.

Do you need lead generation tools? Email automation tools

How often do you use emails to interact with your customers? Do you notify them about new products, features, and useful guides? Do you wish them a happy birthday? Emails can help you increase conversions in by more than 14%.


Nurture sequences

Email sequences

Automated email follow-ups

For instance, when a person requests a freebie or uses the contact form. Email automation allows you to build a relationship with potential clients by educating them about your product and sending them all kinds of useful content (e.g. whitepapers).

In essence, email automation is a crucial part of email marketing as it allows you to automate your whole lead nurturing process.


SendinBlue is a powerful email automation software that enables you to send the right message at the right time. You can quickly build great looking emails, use their machine-learning algorithm to decide when is the best time to send them, track analytics, and more.


ActiveCampaign is another popular marketing tool used by over 60,000 companies, from bloggers to big corporations all over the globe.

When is the time to invest in email automation tools?

The idea behind it is simple – the welcome email triggers after they opt-in for one of your lead magnets. You send a series of emails that tell them a bit more about your brand and delivers another piece of useful content.

If that sounds like something you want to try out, you will need to invest in email automation tools.

Here are a few additional situations in which email automation tools are necessary:

You plan to run weekly or monthly email newsletters.

You are starting an online store and plan to build an email list to notify people about offers like discounts and contests.

Over to you

Building a sustainable funnel involves a lot of testing and you will rarely get it right on your first try. Luckily, there are plenty of tools on the market that can help you optimize this process by solving specific problems you encounter at different stages of the funnel.

Succession Planning Vs Replacement Planning

Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning

Ask the CEO of a company to define succession planning, and there’s a good chance that he/she will confuse it with replacement planning. But the fact is, they are different from each other.

Replacement planning assumes that the organization chart will remain unchanged over time and focuses on identifying “backups” for top positions within the company. The organization chart lists the backups for each top-level position, indicating their readiness to take over the role of the current incumbent. Typically, the organization identifies three individuals as backups for each top-level position.

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Head-to-Head Comparison Between Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning (Infographics)

Following are some of the comparisons between Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning.

Replacement Planning

All replacement planning activities are tactical in nature. But they are crucial for all organizations, regardless of their size. A replacement plan ensures continuity in operations and focuses on how vital positions can be filled quickly.

All companies must have a replacement plan for all key positions and other single contributor roles to reduce talent risks.

Create a replacement plan with one to three identified individuals for key positions in case of emergencies. It must indicate each personnel’s readiness for assuming the role.

Include appropriate support measures for the person assuming the key role in the replacement plan.

In most companies, replacements are generally perceived as a temporary measure. A replacement candidate may or may not be considered a permanent final contender for the position unless he/she meets all the requirements. While a replacement system is crucial for ensuring organizational continuity, it primarily focuses on short-term needs.

Indications of Succession Planning

Several symptoms indicate the time has arrived to initiate a succession planning system in the organization. Succession planning is a more systematic approach that can be carried out through all verticals in a company.

Some of the common symptoms are as follows.

The organization conducted a retention risk analysis to estimate the projected departure dates for each person in the workforce or workgroup. This analysis helps identify potential reasons for departure, such as retirement or other factors.

If the organization experiences a sudden loss of key talent due to death, resignation, or disability, it may take a long time to find an appropriate replacement. The organization cannot respond promptly to such surprises.

Senior managers may lack awareness or perceive the time taken to fill vacant positions, known as the time-to-fill metric, as lengthy.

Managers at various levels may complain about finding people ready for promotion or willing to accept a promotion when a vacancy arises.

Staff members often express concerns that promotion decisions are made in an arbitrary or unfair manner.

The company may not adequately represent women employees, minorities, and other groups protected by law across all organizational levels and functions.

Critical turnover refers to the number of high-potential workers leaving the organization, which is higher than average workers.


There are three reasons to devise a succession plan in an organization. Identifying the replacement for a CEO or other top managers is only a part of the reasons. The reasons are as under.

Replacement of key employees

Supporting anticipated growth

Addressing and dealing with a talent shortage

Unfortunately, many organizations see succession planning as a task to be checked off and set aside, relegating it to other responsibilities. They see it as a means to an end and often perceive it as solely the responsibility of human resources. However, this is the wrong mindset to have. Succession planning should be seen as a talent and organizational improvement initiative that enables a business to thrive and grow. No matter what industry or sector a company operates in, it cannot grow or succeed without strong management talent. Developing, nurturing, and grooming the talent pipeline is not a simple task but essential for any organization’s long-term success and sustainability.

Whether bad or good economic situation, proper talent is hard to get because talent is a combination of behaviors, skills, organizational fit, motivation, and passion. That’s especially difficult to find if you have to hire fast.

Replacement of Key Employees

Most companies tend to believe that the only reason to implement a succession plan is to pick a replacement for the departing CEO or perhaps a couple of top-level executives. This is a major reason for a succession plan. But a complete reason is to identify proper replacements and, in the process, prepare to fill all major positions in the company and not just the CEO or top executives. This is often called “planning many levels deep”, i.e., mid-level executives to section managers and division. Succession planning includes all necessary roles to keep the business moving, even if unobvious. Keep in mind that while executives set the strategy, managers implement them. A company must have strength in both areas to succeed.

Managers and executives will leave a company. They may take up another job in a different organization or be axed. They may retire, become terminally ill, or leave town because of a spouse’s relocation. Whenever a company anticipates a vacancy of a manager or executive, a seamless transition can be possible simply because there’s time for taking care of the transition. It’s when the vacancy is unexpected that the challenge crops up. Maintaining continuity is important because it reduces service disruptions and costs. As the economy improves, growth will take place. A company can support and sustain growth only when it has a talent for managing growth.

Supporting Anticipated Growth

This strategy differs from a replacement strategy as it involves creating new positions to support growth initiatives. These positions may be required to expand current products and services into new markets, develop and introduce new products and services, and devise innovative selling methods such as viral marketing.

While identifying growth areas, identify the internal talent and set up and maintain a talent database comprising candidates currently working for other companies.

Addressing and Dealing with a Talent Shortage

In all organizations, succession planning is not an event but a process. Succession planning is a process that’s critical for all organizations, whether they are expecting vacancies and turnover, working to cope with a talent shortage, or planning for growth.

Assign the responsibility of succession planning to executive team members. Make the activity a part of their evaluation process.

Identify critical needs and key roles for the present and future, several layers deep.

Come up with and use tools, techniques, and methods to identify employee aspirations and competencies.

Put in place a structure to develop potential successors.

Implement a structure to transition the successors to and in the new roles.

Identify an interim or emergency process to fill up a vacant position if, for whatever reason, the identified successor doesn’t work out.

Align recruitment initiatives for succession planning by predicting the core needs and interviewing for adaptability and growth orientation.

Evaluate all plan effectiveness and update plans as required, at least annually.

Succession Planning vs Replacement Planning- Talent pools

One approach to resolving staff-filling problems could be to develop a talent pool. It’s a group of people prepared to take up more challenging responsibilities.

People in a talent pool can be drafted in several ways. One popular approach is to ask managers to assess and nominate people from their teams. A second approach could be to apply an objective assessment method, like multi-rater full-circle tests, for identifying personnel who could be worthwhile to take up future responsibilities.

A talent pool dramatizes the difference between succession and replacement planning. Personnel is identified as “backups” to specific positions in the latter.

Replacement planning encourages promotions only in a field of specialization. On the other hand, succession planning encourages managers across all verticals to consider talent, irrespective of the department, as a possible successor to all positions immediately above them. Talent pools, thus, can be identified beneath every “level” of the organization chart. However, they aren’t tied to any specific position at the immediately following level.

If the talent pool implementation succeeds, the company will have multiple internal candidates ready and equipped to take up new challenges and responsibilities.


Both replacement and succession planning are important for any company. But while succession planning is a more systematic way to fill open positions, replacement planning addresses the more ad-hoc needs. Building up a talent pool is the most important part of replacement planning, where there are many to choose from. But at the same time, a temporary or non-permanent filling up can be of a long-term nature. However, that happens only by chance. A company is unlikely to ask a person to vacate the position after he/she has been appointed to it.

Companies, irrespective of their size, are slowly shifting to succession planning from replacement planning. The former involves envisioning all the vacancies that may arise in the future and over the long term. It pays for a company to have such a system where the internal pool can be kept ready for promotions.

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