Yes, it is that time of year, you’ve memorised all the Christmas carols, you’ve seen enough tinsel to last you a lifetime and you’re planning for 2019! If you haven’t developed a marketing plan for the new year, fear not! Now is actually the best time to gather your thoughts and your data and prepare yourself for your most successful year yet! The following steps will turn your ideas into a marketing plan you can follow through to success and growth in 2019.
1. It’s time for a review!
It’s also time to be honest. Luckily hindsight is 20/20. Before you embark on creating your best ever marketing plan, the first thing to do is to review what worked well and what flopped in 2018? This will give you a clear understanding of where you are. Dive into your analytics, how much traffic did the content developed drive to your website? How well did you convert your visitors into customers? How did your digital ads actually perform? Did the influencer collaboration result in any ROI? Answering these questions will help you establish where to go next
The second part of your review is establishing where your brand is currently positioned. Where do you sit against your competitors and what are the market conditions?
The third and last part of your review is a SWOT analysis. What are your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats?
It’s very important not to rush through your review stage. Rushing directly to planning the next activities, without an idea of what actually needs to be done and what’s likely to work may result in a lot of wasted time.
2. Revisit your buyer personas
Brainstorming exciting new campaigns for your marketing plan is the fun part, but before we do that, we must know exactly who it is we’re trying to communicate our message to. Who is your customer? How do they buy from you? How can you make that process easier? How can you find more people like them? Which channels are best helping you connect with your buyers? Once you nail your personas, your plan can begin to take shape. You know who you’re targetting, where they’re hanging out and how best to speak to them.
3. What do you really want to achieve? Be specific!
Go into detail with your goals. What financial target do you want to hit? Is there a market you want to break into? An award you want to win? An influencer you want to collaborate with? The more concrete your goals are, the easier it will be to set a plan to achieve them.
4. Set a marketing budget
This is a very important step – you need to decide on a number and stick to it! That way when it comes to planning your initiatives, you’ll know exactly how much you have at your disposal and you’ll prioritise those with the highest potential ROI.
If you don’t know how much to spend on marketing, there is a simple formula. The golden figure, for B2B marketing, is 4-8% of your business’ income. B2C marketing often demands more – closer to 15% to launch a product or service, up to 20-25% during major branding initiatives. Work out your marketing cost as a percentage of sales as a starting point, and use the costs associated with your goals to confirm the final figure.
5. Marketing plan – channel by channel
At this stage, you need to keep the needs of your buyer personas and the things you learned from 2018, front of mind. Get creative and imagine the campaigns and initiatives that will help you achieve all those goals you set. This is the part where I would go away with all of your data and come back with concepts for content and creative. It’s best to think big and scale back later!
Map out your plan by channel and break down the activities in each channel. Typically, I include the following channels in a strategy, although they might look different for different industries and clients.
- Direct Marketing
- Print Advertising
- Digital Advertising
- Social Media
- Content Offers
- Public Relations
- Trade shows/Events
- Internal Communications
6. Commit to monitoring your progress on a frequent basis
I’m a firm believer in setting metrics and monitoring them. This really is the key to ensuring marketing success and identifying any pieces of the puzzle that don’t fit.
There are a lot of metrics you can be looking at, it all depends on your goal. There are however two that you absolutely must measure. Marketing as a percentage of sales sets your budget and tracks your costs. Cost per acquisition breaks that marketing spend down and shows how much each customer is worth, and what you had to spend to get them.
The bottom line is, your marketing needs to be delivering a return on investment.
Having a plan in place will be vital to your success in 2019, you won’t get far without it and you don’t want to waste another year in the shadow of your competitors. Cover the fundamentals, ensure you give your marketing plan the time that it deserves. Don’t rush through it just because you’re keen to get started. Instead, take your time, arm yourself with the tools necessary and enjoy the process. I’m always free for a chat, whether you need advice with your marketing plan or you simply prefer to have it done for you, just reach out!