It’s that time of year again when leadership and management teams are tasked with budgeting and planning for the year ahead. The reality is, the most difficult part of planning is getting started, and planning doesn’t have to be scary. The number one thing is to realize that most of your marketing plan is already put together, and you just have to get it all down on paper.
Follow these 5 simple steps to prepare your marketing plan.
If you want to know where to start, you have to know where you want to go. You need to know where the company is heading in order to make sure your plans will get you there. Rather than just sitting down and listing out all of the wonderful things you’d like to accomplish in the coming year, start by defining the vision and goals for the year ahead.
If you aren’t sure what your goals are, or what they should be, take some time to answer a few questions:
If you still don’t know the answers to these questions, take the time to meet internally to ensure everyone is working towards the same objectives.
No, we don’t mean your old history book. Take a look back at what you’ve accomplished over the past year and define what worked, what didn’t, and how you can build upon your existing success to create something new.
If you have the access, take a look at some of the below places for insight:
Once you have an understanding of past performance, you can identify where leads and conversions originated from and support these areas further.
As the new year approaches, set aside some time to look back at the fundamentals of your marketing program. As your company continues to grow and evolve, make sure you revisit, audit, and update your:
Oftentimes, marketers put a great deal of time and effort into developing their yearly plans, laying out and color-coding a masterpiece, and then shove it to the side where it gathers dust for the next 12 months.
To avoid this from happening, keep the delivery simple. Break it down by including your vision and how you want to get there, the major goals you defined in step one, your major quarterly or monthly initiatives you defined in steps two and three, and the measurements you will use to track success and outcomes.
Once you have all of your known data together, it starts to become clear where you need to launch a larger campaign, and to what audience. You can also begin to prioritize and balance lead and demand generation tactics throughout the year to ensure you are both generating new leads and moving existing leads through the funnel.
Don’t get stuck in a silo. Set yourself and your team up for success by sharing, discussing, and revising your plan with others. Get feedback, brainstorm new ideas, and make sure all goals are aligned.
While aspects of business can be unpredictable, ensuring you have a marketing plan can be a pathway to success and structure. From confirming your goals for the new year to looking at the past year and understanding what needs to change and what will continue to drive results, be prepared for 2018 with a solid plan.
Learn more about the many ways SmartAcre® can help develop a plan and drive marketing success in the new year.