Let’s face it we can all get sucked into the day to day of owning a business that we forget to plan and strategize for the future. As 2020 comes to a close now is the perfect time to take a look at what you accomplished in 2020 and make plans for what you want to accomplish in 2021. An effective way to do this is to develop an annual marketing plan. A marketing plan is more than just planning where you will spend your advertising budget. A comprehensive marketing plan also includes a SWOT analysis, competitive analysis as well as a customer analysis. So why should you build an annual marketing plan? I am glad you asked! Let’s dive into my top six reasons why you need to create an annual marketing plan and stick to it!
1. Failure to plan means lost opportunities and lost revenue Like I previously mentioned it is easy to get wrapped up in the day to day of running a business and sometimes marketing can feel like an afterthought. However, with this mentality you are leaving revenue on the table. Taking the time to plan out an annual marketing strategy means you can avoid campaigns being put on hold or worse yet not having enough time to effectively plan a campaign that it falls short. At the end of every year you should be consulting with your team to review the previous year and plan for what’s to come. What are the seasons where your business has the greatest potential to earn revenue and how can you increase that? For example, if you are a tax accountant tax season is going to be a very busy time for you and you will want to capitalize on making sure your brand is top of mind when people are deciding who to call for assistance with their taxes. You will want to have a fully integrated marketing plan thought out in advance that can easily be implemented when the time comes. Another example is if you are a hair salon, you typically see spikes in appointments around the holidays, wedding season and prom. How do you capitalize on these peak seasons and make sure customers choose you for these services? On the flip side you also need to think about your slower times of the year and how you can bring more customers in. Back to the tax accountant maybe in late Summer or the Fall timeframe you run a campaign talking about tax preparation and how you can help customers prepare now for the upcoming tax season. No matter what business you are in it is important to think about when are your busy times and how do you capitalize on that as well as when are your slower times and how can you drive a steady stream of revenue during those months as well.
2. Measure up Most businesses are not regularly thinking about who your competitors are, how they are performing, or if you are targeting the correct customer segment. When creating your annual marketing plan it is important to answer these questions:
Who are your competitors? Any new competitors in the market?
How did your competitors perform last year?
How did your business perform last year?
What are your competitors doing that you should consider doing?
Where do you want your business to be in a year from now?
Who is your target market?
How do you best reach your target market?
It is imperative that you annually take a step back to think about these questions and strategically plan for the upcoming year.
3. Road map for the year If a comprehensive annual marketing plan is developed it can serve as a road map for all of your employees. This can help them to see what the priorities for the company are and how they can impact the goals for the year. A marketing plan also helps to keep you on track and helps to avoid veering off and chasing the next new shining thing. Your plan should include metrics and goals you want to reach in the upcoming year.
4. Financial tool Budgeting and financial planning for the year can be very difficult without a well thought out plan for what you want to accomplish in the upcoming year. A marketing plan will not only give you an idea of how much you plan to spend on advertising in the upcoming year, it can also help you to determine the amount of revenue you can expect to achieve in the upcoming year. Without a plan for how you will achieve new revenue growth it is almost impossible to arrive at an accurate revenue estimate for the upcoming year. Essentially you are shooting into the sky with lofty goals and no target or plan to back you up.
5. Keep your brand top of mind Previously I mentioned you need to create a plan that not only capitalizes on your busy times, but also on the slower months. It is important to keep your brand top of mind for your consumers no matter what time of year it is. There is always an opportunity to bring more revenue to your company even if it isn’t during your peak season. Consider engaging in social media platforms as well as e-mail campaigns to remain top of mind throughout the year.
6. Reduces stress When you plan an annual marketing strategy you can say goodbye to the stressful days and weeks of trying to come up with last minute campaigns. Planning ahead allows you to be better prepared for those campaigns as they approach as well as implement an effective advertising campaign. After all that is what it is all about.
As you can clearly see there are many reasons why it is worth while to plan out an annual marketing plan. And hopefully I have instilled in you that a comprehensive marketing plan is more than just where and how you plan to utilize your marketing dollars. It really is an overall strategy for your business that all of your employees can get behind. Questions on developing your own comprehensive marketing plan or do you need help facilitating the development of your plan? Give us a shout we would be happy to help!