Planning your marketing strategy affords you the ability to focus on your goals, keep important dates in mind, and stay on top of your budget. Ultimately, a solid plan drives results for your business.
Do you need help implementing your marketing plan? Make sure to keep these five factors in mind for results that make a lasting impact.
1. Focus on Your Main Goals
What marketing goals do you want to focus on this year? Do you want to see increased sales in general? Or are you looking to grow brand awareness? Marketers who set goals are around 376% more likely to achieve them than those that use a more random marketing strategy.
Suppose that you want to increase awareness of a specific service offered by your business. Customers frequently come to you for other needs, but they don't seem to know about that particular product or service. By shifting your marketing plan to include a closer look, including offering testimonials and other social proof, you can often improve overall awareness of your product in your local area. On the other hand, if you want to increase general brand awareness, you might focus on cause marketing initiatives or sponsor a segment on television.
As you set your goals for 2021, make sure you account for the significant changes that may have occurred within your business throughout 2020. Take into consideration COVID-19, social unrest, the elections, and substantial technology changes that could affect your business in 2021.
2. Reflect on Your Advertising Past
Take a look at your past advertising efforts. What worked for your business? What didn't? Look at areas where you exceeded your budget or did not achieve the ROI you expected. Next, see where you had money left over. Were there advertising strategies that you abandoned due to not seeing the results you had hoped for? Did you withhold some marketing efforts due to changing market conditions throughout 2020?
Most importantly, consider what results you saw from your past efforts. If you saw an increase in sales due to specific strategies or methods, you may see similar success when you incorporate the same tactics in the future. On the other hand, if you did not see the success you had hoped for, it may be time to pivot your message, increase your marketing budget, or change your strategy.
3. Incorporate Important Dates
When planning your marketing campaigns and promotions, you should keep holidays and other important dates in mind. Many retailers see an increase in sales over the holiday season. Clothing stores, especially those that cater to children, may see an increase in sales during the back to school season.
That doesn’t mean that you have to focus on major, well-known holidays alone. Choose the days that are important to your business, too. For example, National Pizza Day could be an excellent day for your pizza restaurant to run a promotion, while a bakery might focus on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Throughout 2021, many people will be looking for reasons to celebrate--so invite them to join you in celebration at your business. Marketing for weird holidays can offer a great chance to connect and engage with your customers. Make sure your business takes advantage of it as you plan your strategy for the coming year.
4. Always Keep Your Budget in Mind
It’s critical to keep your goals and budget aligned when creating your marketing plan. To see the results you want, you have to put in the right amount of work and account for your budget. You can see a high ROI from your marketing initiatives, but if you haven't invested enough, you may find that it doesn't offer the real results you need.
For 2021, set realistic financial growth expectations based on your 2020 goals. This simple calculation is key in determining a budget for the coming year since it ensures that what you plan to spend on marketing will help you reach your revenue goals.
5. Create a Plan to Follow
Once you know what worked and what didn't, create a plan that will determine how you will proceed with your marketing efforts throughout the year. You need to establish:
- How much your production costs
- How much it costs to run your ads
- How much you invested last year
- What you want to see in ROI
- When you will be advertising
- How often you will be advertising
Keep in mind that your plan is just that: a plan. It establishes your initial guidelines. You may need to pivot or adapt your marketing plan based on changes to your market and challenges you may face throughout 2021. Having that base plan in place, however, can set your business up to thrive in the coming year.
Creating your marketing plan provides you with a reliable guide throughout the coming year. Working with a media partner can help you create a solid plan, then turn it into reality. Choose a partner who will guide you through the process, providing you with more insight into best practices for your marketing this year.