Marketing planning tips for a successful year
The return to work after the festive holiday is a popular time to plan and look ahead. Businesses often use this point to create or revisit their marketing plans and, in doing so, they hope to create the right route map to achieve desired business results in the months ahead.
Having worked with many businesses over the years, we’ve seen marketing plans of all shapes and sizes. Some have been brilliant and have success written all over them. Others have presented an impossible mountain for the business to climb.
It is always good to have broad long-term goals and things you want the marketing of your business to achieve. More often than not though it’s the easier, short-term and ‘quick-wins’ tasks and activities which get implemented. Invariably the harder slog tasks get postponed, then deferred, then quietly dropped as they require too much time, effort and change to bring them about.
So as we’re now in one of the marketing planning ‘seasons’ of the year, we thought we’d share 5 tips on how to create a more realistic and achievable marketing plan:
1. Less is more
Build your marketing plan on just a handful of goals and objectives. Keep it to say 3 or 4 specific outcomes you want to achieve in a given timeframe. The more goals you set, the more cumbersome your plan becomes. It’s better to devise a plan with 3 or 4 objectives then, once it has been achieved, create another plan to accomplish the next 3. Avoid creating a doorstop of a plan with numerous goals and activities that will take years…and years… and years to complete.
Be very clear about the groups of people you want the plan’s activities to engage and resonate with. The clearer your understanding of who they are and what their behaviours/profile is, the greater your chance of selecting the right marketing channels, messages and promotions to get their attention.
Wherever possible try and focus on one group at a time to create more targeted marketing activities. These have a better chance of converting than broad brush attempts. Don’t forget to check out how your competitors are currently targeting and engaging that group, so you can find ways to differentiate.
3. Don’t forget your current customers
Remember the value of your existing customer base, as often there is significant unlocked potential here. Whilst it’s good to focus on bringing new customers to your business, a significant chunk of your plan is best directed towards building loyalty, upselling and encouraging referrals from those who already appreciate your business offering and approach.
4. Explain your plan
Make sure everyone in the business knows about the plan and how they’re expected to support it. The plan should be an active and dynamic thing that evolves and isn’t forgotten the minute it’s published. Give its implementation a helping hand by checking people understand its activities and their anticipated involvement with them. Don’t forget to ensure everyone is really clear about the plan’s timescales and the budget that has been set for different activities.
5. Monitor and communicate the plan’s progress
Get your team(s) together regularly to review progress and tackle any obstacles that may have occurred in the plan’s roll-out. Be prepared to give individuals a habitual nudge to ensure activities are being done when they were supposed to (establishing check-in points along the way will help you to remember to do this). Also, consider creating a visual summary of the plan – say a wall chart or an infographic-type poster placed it in a communal area of the office – to keep it front of mind for team members.
Few dispute the importance of having a plan when they want to achieve something or bring about a specific result or outcome for their business. The challenge though is to create a realistic, motivational and highly implementable one which does indeed bring that result.
We hope these simple essentials help with your marketing planning in the months ahead. And if you do need help devising or reviewing your marketing plans, please do get in touch.