In January, many businesses sit down to review and renew their marketing plan. But is January really the best time to begin your revisit?
Probably not. In fact, now is the time to start reflecting on what worked for you and what didn’t. It takes time to build a good plan, so instead of waiting until next year to actually start, jumpstart your plan now.
To get you inspired to truly enter next year with a no fail annual marketing plan, here are 10 tips to get you started and ahead of the game.
10 Tips to Jumpstart your Marketing Plan
1. You are not alone. Gather input from key stakeholders.
When it’s time to sit down and create your marketing plan, getting started is usually the hardest part. With a blank screen staring at you, it’s hard not to feel alone and solely responsible for coming up with the winning formula for your company’s success.
But the truth is, you are not alone! You need input from key stakeholders such as product management and sales to define many of the key components of the plan (goals, key messages, target audience, etc.).
Sales is never short on opinions about what they think works and doesn’t work so don’t be afraid to ask. If you include them as part of the planning process and their voice is heard throughout, they are more likely to be supportive as you put it into place.
2. Spy on your competition.
Great job, you accomplished a lot last year! But your competitors probably did too. Get into intelligence gathering mode and spy on your competitors to see what’s new with them.
What changes have they made on their website? Are they positioning things differently? Selling a new product? Have a new pricing model? What kind of press did they get? You may even want to take it a step further and run an SEO audit of keywords to compare your rankings to theirs.
(BTW – We do this for our clients monthly)
3. Audit last years’ results and current assets.
Before starting new, it’s important to take a look back at last year. Look at the marketing results you achieved, the events you sponsored (and which were successful), the current collateral or assets you have available, your supporting tools, etc.
Basically, take this time as your opportunity to take inventory and reflect back on what you accomplished and how what you’ve learned can shape your 2016 plans.
4. Document processes.
Now is a great time to document your sales and marketing processes if you haven’t done so already. By doing this, you will identify inefficiencies and make sure you are on the same page with sales.
5. Identify gaps.
Document any issues you uncover while reviewing your collateral, processes and templates. Look for “dark holes” – where prospects or customers get lost. Also identify any key pieces of collateral or sales enablement tools missing that you need to create?
6. Be fearless.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you need to change the outcome then that means it’s time to shake things up. Albert Einstein said it perfectly – “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Try sending a new message or campaign out to a small subset to test the results.
7. Measure everything.
You can afford to be fearless and try new things if you continue to measure what you’re doing. There is no silver bullet in marketing but if you track your results each step of the way, you will understand what is working and change what isn’t.
8. Adjust your course as needed.
Once your marketing plan is complete, you have set your course and know the direction you are headed. But a marketing plan is never one and done. Your plan should be constant and revised throughout the year. You will gain insight into what is working and not working and make changes accordingly. This is how your plan will continue to stay effective.
Communication with your key stakeholders shouldn’t stop once the plan is complete. Keep everyone in the loop by planning monthly meetings to review progress and update on results. When you are transparent and provide visibility, you will gain trust and support for your efforts. Additionally, this process will give you the opportunity to get feedback and buy-in from your stakeholders on a regular basis.
10. Just get started.
That’s it, just start.
So there you have it
With a little bit of extra time spent before the current year ends thinking through these ten steps and putting a plan in place, you can begin to deliver exciting growth not just for your marketing team, but for your business as a whole and stay on a path that outpaces your competition.