There Is a New Year Approaching, Is It Time for a New Marketing Plan?
It's always a good idea to assess your marketing plan to see if you need a new approach for your business in the new year.
Here are five steps to follow to ensure that your revised plan will be as effective as possible:
1) Gather Data on What You Did in the Last Year
In particular, you should be looking for how much money you spent, how much time you spent, what kind of marketing you did, and what the final results were. Your goal here is to determine what sort of marketing has been working for you.
Anything that didn't work is right out unless you have a good reason to keep doing it.
For example, most inbound marketing campaigns will take six to nine months to really start showing a profit - so if you only started one in October, it makes sense to keep it going.
Analytics are an excellent way to obtain this information.
If you haven't implemented analytics yet, that should be the very first thing on your to-do list. Seriously, don't even finish writing this marketing plan - go get that installed right now. It really is that important.
2) Understand Your Organization's Goals
This includes both the strategic and revenue goals - what are you actually trying to accomplish, and how much revenue are you trying to get?
As you'll see later, this is an important part of deciding whether or not the organization's goals are realistic.
Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news, but you really do need to know what's expected of you and whether or not you can accomplish it.
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3) Identify Your Budget and Resources
What's your actual budget for the year going to be like - and can you make it any higher?
This is where you'll start to use the information you gathered in step one. In particular, your goal here is to demonstrate that your strategy can provide a positive return on investment.
A good ratio for most companies is 5:1 - that is, you earn the company five dollars for every dollar spent on marketing. If you can demonstrate something at least close to this result, it shouldn't be too hard to get some extra funding. After all, you'll quite literally pay for yourself.
At the same time, you'll need to consider your actual resources - things like personnel, technology, and even external contractors that you might hire to help get the work done.
In most cases, your success is limited by your resources... and your resources are limited by your budget.
As long as you can still use them effectively, having more of each is always better.
4) Identify Your Organization's "Must Haves" and "Must Do's" in Marketing
The very first "must have", of course, is "having a positive cash flow during each pay period". After all, no matter how much money it earns during the rest of the year, a company is in trouble if it can't pay people on time.
Outside of this, however, different companies have different goals. Some are focused solely on maximizing revenue, while others may want to persuade people to think a certain way in preparation for future product launches.
This is why it's important to understand what your organization actually needs you to do. Make sure you understand the difference between what the organization wants (three-digit growth, anyone?) and what it actually needs.
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5) Align Your New Budget with Your Goals, Successful Marketing Channels, and New Opportunities for Growth
This is where everything comes together. Your budget and resources dictate what you can do, so it's your job to fit that together with your company's needs and goals as best you can.
In most cases, this means emphasizing the marketing channels that have historically been the most successful for you - that's why you did Step 1.
However, you should never dedicate all of your budget to your traditional channels unless the numbers say this is required to meet your company's needs.
Instead, always set aside at least some of your budget to investigate and experiment with new opportunities for growth. If you find something that works better than what you're doing now, you can move into that once you've been able to prove its effectiveness.
Thanks for stopping by,
Breezy Hill Marketing is a Vermont marketing agency specializing in inbound marketing strategy, social media marketing, and web design services. We tailor programs to meet each customer's unique needs and work closely with them to ensure a successful outcome.