An annual marketing plan will keep your business on track with goals and objectives for the year and will also maximize marketing opportunities and budgets. A solid marketing plan should be structured with a disciplined approach to reaching your business goals and objectives, yet flexible enough to adapt to changing market conditions and business opportunities throughout the year.
Here are 3 things to consider when developing an Annual Marketing Plan…
Review the Previous Year - Before you begin the annual planning process for the coming year’s marketing efforts, you’ll want to take a look at how you performed over the current year. Even if you didn’t have a structured marketing plan in place previously, you should at least be able to review past marketing activities and results.
Strategies & Tactics - A marketing plan is simply a written document that contains your marketing strategies and tactics. The first step in developing an annual marketing plan is getting organized. Make a list of all the marketing components or categories that are important for your business. Obviously, there are many different tactics out there so consult with your personal marketing expert to find out which ones are working. Even if you do not plan to allocate dollars for a specific tactic – like social media – it should be included so that your strategies and tactics can be outlined in an integrated planning approach.
Define Your Marketing Plan Budget - Each tactic will need to have its own budget. The marketing plan should include fields to capture your allocated budget, actual spend and budget variance so that you can track throughout the year and make adjustments as needed. For example, if you are under budget in one category you can shift funds to another category where you may be over budget.
Be sure to take advantage of tracking mechanisms for marketing efforts whenever possible – such as “call tracking numbers” or website analytic reports – so that you can make adjustments to maximize performance of campaigns.
Make your business New Year resolution to start the year with an integrated marketing plan that clearly outlines your business objectives and the marketing strategies and tactics you plan to use to achieve them.