Tailoring Your Annual Marketing Plan for the New Year
The start of each new year is the perfect time to review your existing marketing strategy and lay out a new annual marketing plan for the year ahead. While there’s no need (usually) to reinvent the wheel year after year, a yearly reassessment of your marketing strategy allows you to identify any subtle shifts, including the areas in which your business has grown and changed over the last 12 months, and then make adjustments to your annual marketing strategy so that it falls in line with your evolving goals. Think of it like a new year’s resolution for your business.
What is in a marketing plan?
At its core, an annual marketing plan is a detailed summary that outlines your intended marketing strategy over the course of the year. A good annual marketing plan is typically made up of several elements, including:
- An overview of your target audience
- The particular marketing, advertising, and sales goals of your business
- A summary of your marketing strategy or plan
- A timeline or calendar that shows when each individual task within your strategy should be executed
- A list of the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will be tracking
How do you create a marketing plan?
An annual marketing plan can be created internally or with the help of a marketing agency; but regardless of which path you choose, the foundation for creating that plan is mostly the same. The most successful annual marketing plans are built upon these four pillars:
- Understanding client DNA. This first step requires asking a lot of questions. The idea here is to identify who your target market is and what their needs and pain points are. You may also want to talk to your vendors, partners and even your competitors to uncover consumer buying behaviors, perceptions and opinions. This information becomes an executive summary of sorts and serves as the backbone of your annual marketing plan.
- Crafting your unique message. Your messaging should paint the overall picture of your business. It tells your audience who you are and why they should choose to work with you, and it should be utilized consistently across all of your marketing efforts throughout the year.
- Developing a touch process. Typically, your touches will come in the form of media and press, direct sales and networking, social media, marketing materials, your website, email marketing, and/or direct mail. The exact platforms you use will depend largely upon the behaviors and demographics of your audience.
- Building your brand. How do you want your audience to think of you? With a strong branding effort, you get to define your vision for your brand and put it into play through your annual marketing efforts.
How do you make adjustments to your annual marketing plan?
The most efficient way to identify any adjustments that need to be made to your yearly marketing plan from one year to the next is to go through each of the elements outlined in the four pillars above and ask yourself whether there have been any changes in your business over the last 365 days that would lead you to approach any of those pillars differently.
- Has your target market shifted at all? Have you identified any new or different audience members that you would like to reach going forward?
- Is the core message of your business still the same? Are you offering any new or different products or services?
- Which platforms attracted the most engagement? Which ones attracted the least? Did you achieve your desired results across each one? Are there any new platforms you’d like to utilize this year?
- Have you made any changes to your branding, including your logo, colors or other visual elements?
There’s also the budget to consider. As each year draws to a close, you should take a good, hard look at the numbers: Review your KPIs and the corresponding data. Did the money you spent have the desired impact? Are you getting a solid return on your investment? If the answer to either of those questions is no, now is the time to make adjustments. Look at where your money was spent and what you got out of it, and then modify the budget as needed.
Ultimately, the benefits of an annual marketing plan assessment are twofold: It provides clear marketing direction for the year ahead, and it helps you identify what could be changed or improved as your business grows and evolves.
For help creating your own annual sales and marketing plan, contact Paradigm Marketing and Design to schedule a consultation with one of our marketing specialists.