The most common question I’m sure everyone’s asking around this time of the year is: where has the time gone? Or, how is it possible that we’re almost at the end of 2018? Well, yes—we’ve reached the end of another year, and it’s time to start on your 2019 marketing plan.
Businesses need to start working on their annual marketing plan now to allow enough time for the necessary research and planning. It allows for enough time to challenge the plan, get valuable insights from various staff in your organisation, and to do the appropriate modifications in time to kick off the new year. Developing a marketing plan requires research, time, and commitment; but it’s a crucial process that will contribute to your overall business success.
However, just as it’s important that you work on your 2019 marketing plan in advance, it’s also important that the plan is flexible. You should design your plan so that it can be easily updated throughout the year based on your marketing efforts, campaign performances, your business needs, and any unforeseen changes that could occur in your industry. Overall the structure should be a clear guide, not a rulebook, on how to drive your business objectives in order to achieve your ultimate goals.
Here are some things we consider when helping our clients build a strategic annual marketing plan that’ll deliver results:
Analyse your current market position
Determine how your business is best positioned in the marketplace. Home in on which audiences you’re targeting and analyse what your customer pain-points or buying motives are. Have their needs shifted? Are they facing new challenges? Has the industry changed, and will that affect the competitive landscape or the messages you want to push out?
Learn from this year’s data
Learn from what worked and what didn’t work this year. Yes, 2018 isn’t quite finished yet; but there’s sure to be a lot of valuable data that you can evaluate. How much traffic did the content on your website see? How did your digital ads actually perform? What was your trade show ROI? Evaluate all your channels to see which performed really well and whether your focus needs to be readjusted.
Set smart goals
Your marketing goals need to be in line with your business goals. Set out each goal with a timeline, including objectives and a completion date. It’s important to measure your business’s success: keep tabs on the return on your marketing investments and shift capital to the most rewarding areas.
Create strategies to implement your 2019 marketing plan
Whether you’re a small-to-medium sized business or a large corporate, you’ll need to map out how you’ll get your products or services out to market. But how will you differentiate your business from your competitors and what channels will you use to achieve your goals? Will it be digital marketing, public relations, advertising, promotions..? The list goes on!
Develop a marketing budget
A marketing budget is a crucial part of your marketing plan, as this will help to create opportunities to achieve the goals set out for your business success. But how do you decide where to spend that hard earned cash?
Start by evaluating what areas were a success this year. Conversely, can you pinpoint any activities that led to a low ROI–could it have been an event that you sponsored and didn’t see much return over? You’ll want to look at diversifying your budget across various channels like advertising, digital marketing, public relations, influencer marketing, and social media, but the key to developing a marketing budget is to start with ROI, as this will provide a full picture of cost-vs-profits based on your marketing efforts.
Whether you’re just starting to think about your 2019 marketing plan or are already on your way, please feel free to get in touch with one of our team and we’ll help you kick-off the new year with a marketing plan that’ll get you the results you want.