Creating your annual marketing plan can be as complicated or as simple as you need it to be. What is important, is creating one!
We all know we should plan our marketing strategies for the new year. If you're on the ball, it would have been done months ago.
Failing to plan, is planning to fail ~ Benjamin Franklin
But for most of us, the week between Christmas and the New Year is about the time we think about our marketing plan.
Is it too late?
Well, for January maybe. The rest of the year -- definitely not.
In reality your marketing plan is an on-going work of art so to speak. It needs to be adapted and managed throughout the entire year. That being said, you will need to have an overall marketing plan in the first place. Let us ask - did you have a plan for 2016? For the purpose of this article, we're going to assume as a diligent business owner, you created a comprehensive marketing plan as part of your initial business plan and have adapted it throughout the years. If you didn't, consider doing it now.
So let's get started building your 2017 marketing plan (keep in mind, this article is over-simplified).
- Determine your overall objectives for 2017. (ex: create stronger sales process, build lead generation systems, build brand awareness).
- Take a look at your overall sales - where would you like to see change for 2017.
- Now detail your goals for 2017 (ex: higher customer retention, increase market share of product x by 10%, increase on-line sales by 25% etc.)
Next you will need to look at the following before creating your actual marketing plan:
- What significant events in 2017 will impact sales/growth for your business? (ex: product launch; anniversary; annual holidays ie: Valentine's day; new hire; local or national event, etc.)
- Take a look at 2016. Which of your marketing initiatives worked? Which did not? (email marketing, direct marketing, newspaper ads, radio, social media)
- What didn't you add to your marketing plan in 2016 that you wish you had? (stronger website, e-commerce, blog, paid advertising, greater automation)
- In regards to your marketing budget, will it increase, decrease or stay the same. Where will the focus of your budget be directed? (paid advertising, social media, website, radio)
Next Step: Create your Marketing Action Plan
Now that you have taken the time to look at what you did last year and what your goals and objectives are for 2017, creation of your marketing action plan will be that much easier. This marketing action plan is a necessity to achieving your goals and objects and in staying focused throughout the year. The day to day running of the business consumes most business owners, making it too easy to lose focus. By creating a few calendars now and posting them in a place you will notice them daily, will help you keep your focus. You can also set alerts and reminders in your computer. Assign individual tasks to key team members. If documented now, you won't be flying by the seat of your pants when it comes to your marketing all year.
Finally: Update and Adjust Your Action Plan throughout the year. Things change quickly in the business world. Be ready for it!
Fill out the form below to download a few of the planning calendars we use.