It’s that time of year again – planning your marketing for 2020. As dreaded as this task might seem, think of it as an opportunity. . . and not just another fourth-quarter task.
Why is marketing planning an opportunity? Because it gives you and your team the chance to really delve into what you’ve done, how customers reacted, where you can do better, and what you can stop doing. It’s easy to just take last year’s plan and update it for 2020. That’s not a good idea because the marketing world, especially digital marketing, changes at lightning speed.
The following tips can help businesses of any size craft a solid marketing plan built on data, strategy, and an understanding of the tools and resources available to you in the coming year.
- Analyze your 2019 marketing efforts. How well did each tactic do? Look at PPC, your website, digital ads, SEO efforts, Google-based services. Think about:
- How many of your efforts resulted in customer conversions?
- How well did each effort do in comparison to 2018 results?
- What was the cost per conversion?
- What was the total cost for each marketing tactic, and how does that cost compare to budget, sales, new customers, and increased awareness? Justify 2019’s expenditures versus sales.
2. Take a good hard look at your customer base, potential customer demographics, and new research and data that describes the habits, needs, and wants of your target audience:
- Consumers are changing and aging, and with this comes different needs and buying habits. Have you kept up with your customers and changed as they have changed?
- With the rapid speed of technology, especially digital, social, and mobile, consumers have new ways of getting information. They also have new preferences regarding how they get that information. Remember when Facebook was only for the cool kids under age 25? Right. Be sure that your target audiences are getting your information the way they want to.
- Understand how your buyers/customers make their buying decisions. Try some market research – questionnaires, focus groups, quick email-based surveys – to get a good understanding of how your target base thinks and acts.
- Use your online reviews as a learning tool. Customers generally mean what they say in these reviews, so take heed and change as needed.
3. Involve your marketing agency in the planning, or hire an agency to help you. Sometimes business managers or owners are just too inwardly-focused, and they don’t have the time or don’t know how to strategically plan.
A strategic plan is not just listing tactics and how many times you’ll do them or how much money you’ll spend on them. A strategic plan is based on research, hard data from internal and external sources, an understanding of customer demographics, and knowledge of all the digital and traditional marketing tools and resources available.
4. Involve the right players in marketing planning, especially at first. Your marketing efforts will affect every member of your organization in some way. Maybe it’s increased business for the front lines, perhaps it’s a different process, or a new way to serve customers.
Bring these key players together before you start planning in earnest. Marketing has to be conducive to those who plan and manage processes and procedures, those who manufacture or distribute a product, and those who serve the customer face to face. Find out what they think – you could be surprised.
5. Build in ways to track and measure results in your 2020 marketing planning. Tracking and measuring each effort at least monthly can ensure that you have no regrets at year-end! Knowing how well each marketing effort is doing versus cost and conversion enables you to stop, change or expand a campaign based on hard data. If you use a marketing agency, make sure they are sharing results with you consistently as well.
Marketing planning is your opportunity to focus on the activities that work for your business, your budget, and your customers. Whiteboard Marketing would be happy to help you in both planning and implementing marketing programs that work. We’re all about making marketing simple for you, so you can focus on running your business.