It’s high time to draft next year’s marketing plan if you haven’t yet, with all of its objectives, budgeting, and calendaring trimmings. There are a few main steps to take when creating a plan that will help maximize results. We thought we’d share our insight as these steps can also be used for planning other functions of a business for the coming year.
Helpful planning necessitates awareness of industry trends, as well as how your own organization has progressed in recent years. To look ahead, you’ll need to know the impact of what you’re doing currently. What’s happening within your organization now? What do you need to achieve in the coming year? Look beyond the here and now to determine how the groundwork you lay in 2018 will make an impact in the long run.
Tapping into the right data is key. An anonymous survey of BAM clients found 90% are planning to continue or increase their current spend on earned media. This is particularly interesting given the reputation earned media has of being the hardest to measure. We recently launched Insights, BAM Communications’ own analytics offering, which helps identify the impact of earned media. In your business, take Google Analytics a step further, integrating with CRM and marketing automation tools, such as Salesforce and HubSpot.
If you have the right data, a professional digital marketer can understand the likely behavior of your target buyers and how to brand content that demonstrates your understanding of their needs. Grab trusted advisors to brainstorm the best tactics to convey such messages. This will help with the next phase of your plan, which can get quite tactical.
When looking at budgeting for marketing services for the new year, take into account the company business plan, revenue goals, changes to services or products, metrics to measure success, and sales initiatives that require support. Explore the following as stepping stones to achieve objectives:
- Industry events
- Speaking opportunities
- Social media (organic and paid)
- SEO / SEM
- Content marketing
- Public relations
- Analyst relations
Consider ditching any biases you may have acquired in recent years on the above, it’s worth it. Forrester finds trade shows are the second most effective marketing tactic, following a company’s own website. These days a mix of traditional and digital marketing tools work together for best results in awareness building, engagement, lead generation and conversion.
Marketing planning software programs help managing priorities and projects by team. But the biggest part of planning is in building that team. Outsourcing elements of marketing to consultants or agencies is a good way to get short-term expertise.
Revisiting creative vendors, specifically PR, to examine if the contractor or agency on retainer jives with your 2018 plans. If you’re choosing a PR agency for the first time, choose one that demonstrates it can understand, adapt, and cater to your vision while offering the tools, team, and strategies that match your needs.
Once the right teams are in place, lead internal staff and vendors to start long-lead tactics first. Good marketing is like a symphony, it builds and teases and gets loud in all the right places, each campaign leading to a rush of exciting results. If your plans call for paid social media, you’ll need to first build your community. It may make sense to break ground on some 2018 activities now.
Is a rebrand in your plans? A fresh new design is a bold way to illustrate a company’s evolution. Launching a new face, like BAM Communications did this year, can help your business tap into new markets as well as showcase the growth of the company’s internal team or services.
A new year offers new opportunities. If we can help you with planning – or with any part of your 2018 marketing needs – drop us a line!