We’re about to cap off the year and most of you are probably rushing to get things done before taking the holiday break. While it seems like the season for finishing deadlines and tying loose ends, it’s also the best time to plan for the coming year. It’s a good way to end the year with great plans for the future instead of simply putting a closure on the year that has passed.
So how do you come up with a year-end marketing plan? What do you prioritize first? We’ve created a small checklist to guide you in your planning.
1. Evaluate last year’s strategies and performance. You need to review all the marketing efforts you’ve done over the past year and see which ones were successful and which ones failed. Take note of the things you did right from preparation to promotional content and execution. Look at your mistakes, too, and document it under your “what not to do” files. Sometimes we tend to forget that we’ve already done certain things before and often end up repeating them. Having them all on record will help you look back and see the things you’ve accomplished, how you did them along with your unsuccessful efforts and how to avoid them.
2. Set new objectives. Most companies already have a set of core objectives in place. And that’s great. The thing is, growth can be elusive if you set the same objectives year after year. Make sure that you set new and bold goals for 2015. Something that will push you out of your comfort zone. In other words, innovate! For example, you just can’t simply say increase social media presence every year. You need to be specific like stating “triple the amount of content to be released in 2015 by producing video content in YouTube, releasing podcasts, and creating more infographics for more digestible content.”
3. Create a new marketing budget. Regardless of your success or lack thereof last year, you need to set a new marketing budget that will help your team do better. It’s already a given that marketing costs increase every year. The key here is to know where to put your money. Do you need a new team to manage your social media sites closely? Which channels are worth advertising into? Are they still effective? If anything, don’t skimp. Sometimes you need to take risks and try new avenues, costing a substantial amount of money. But that’s part of marketing and extending your reach. Just know where your money goes and always evaluate.
4. Develop a content strategy. With digital marketing being at the helm of most marketing efforts, the need for a content strategy is more crucial than ever. According to the Content Marketing Institute only 35% of businesses have a documented content marketing strategy. You need to create an editorial calendar to guide you in the direction of your content. There are certain months when you need to focus on a certain topic prior to a product or service launch. There are seasons when you need to focus on socially responsible content related to your business. A content strategy will help you map these easily. It’s great for monitoring content effectiveness, too!
5. Assess your marketing technology needs. Do you need to invest in marketing automation software? Does your graphic artist’s computer need an upgrade? Have you looked at your website lately? How does it fare compared to your competitors? You need to pin down your technology needs because this will make your marketing job easier and more efficient. Traditional channels still work but you have to recognize that the majority of marketing efforts are now done online and they are often more successful, too. Investing in technology will help you be a step ahead of the game.
Having a marketing plan doesn’t guarantee immediate success but it often leads to that. The goals you set along with the strategies you put in place and the investment you make—all of these things contribute to the overall success of your marketing efforts for the coming year. It may take a lot of brainstorming and pencil pushing but once you’ve come up with a concrete marketing plan, it will make your job simpler and your strategies more effective.
About Pepper Social Media
Pepper Social Media is an online marketing firm that specializes on social media management, content marketing, SEO, PPC, social media marketing, copywriting, and targeted blogging. Our creative team consists of experienced marketing strategists who can fortify your brand identity and amplify your reach.