Establishing Your Annual Marketing Plan
Marketing is an ongoing project, but segmenting your efforts into campaigns, annual goals, and smaller chunks helps to keep it manageable – and lets you know if the ROI is worth the expense. As we move forward into 2021, planning for the future is in full effect. If you haven’t already established your company’s marketing plan for the year, now’s the time to get it done. If you have, you can use this checklist to fine tune or get a jump on next year. Every business is going to be a bit different of course, and the niche you serve will have its own best forms of media, tone, imagery, and so on. These are some general principles to keep in mind, as well as some details that shouldn’t be overlooked… Adjust for your own industry as necessary.
Your overall budget should be the top priority when planning upcoming marketing efforts. If you know how much you’re willing to spend – and a number you’re not willing to surpass – the rest of the planning can be done in context.
Instead of coming up with ideas then tallying up the costs to see what you can afford, start with budget and work backward from there. An overall budget can then be parsed out into various projects, forms of media, specific campaigns, and the services required to create them.
What’s the overall purpose of your marketing efforts? Different types of marketing achieve different goals, so knowing what you want to accomplish will determine the actions you take. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Increase sales with existing customers? Capture new leads?
You may be looking to achieve more than one of these things, but each campaign should have its own intended outcome. Identifying your specific goals will provide direction for planning actual campaigns, and serve as guidance for the language, style, and media you use. Make sure you know what you want to accomplish before you start building out your marketing efforts.
Who are you marketing to, and what kind of marketing do those people respond to?
Similar to the items above, determining your target audience before you start creating campaign material provides direction for media, messaging, frequency, and so much more. For example: if your ideal customers listen to the radio but don’t use Instagram, that’s a strong reason not to waste effort and money on sponsored IG posts, and instead put that portion of your budget toward the media your niche is already using.
When you know WHO you want to communicate with, you’ll have a much better understanding of HOW to communicate with them.
As you develop your plan for the year, come up with ideal timelines for your various campaigns and projects. Not only will this provide some urgency and deadlines to meet, it will also help you break campaign creation into smaller pieces. If, for example, your marketing plan includes YouTube and a specific date you want to publish the first video, you can use that information to set a deadline for script writing, another deadline for shooting, and another for editing.
This is a powerful way to set your efforts up for success. Instead of a murky focus on the final outcome, breaking each campaign into its component parts will help you and your team stay on track throughout the year.
These categories are all pretty broad, but the specifics of your marketing are going to depend on many factors that only you can determine. The point is to take a bird’s eye view of expense and intentions before you get into the weeds of design and implementation. The more you can create a big picture view of the year to come, the more the component tasks will make sense, stay within budget, and be completed on time.
If you need help developing a marketing plan, creating materials, or finding your company’s voice, New School can help!