Let’s think back to the start the year. We have our best marketing ideas, we’re at max creativity, and we look back at the challenges of the past year and know we can do better in our next year. Our plan is primed to maximize growth, and by the time this year is over, we’ll be the name everyone is talking about.
The best-laid plans in January are nowhere to be found by September. That October promotion we were planning has been replaced with a new product launch. Facebook has updated their advertising policies again so that organic campaign we knew would drive results doesn’t do us any good anymore.
It can be enough to have us throwing up our hands and going “why bother?” now that it’s time to start our 2019 plans. However, we can’t – we need to go through that exercise. Why?
It puts your customer back at the center
Every company is guilty of this, even the famed Apple and Starbucks, falling back to what we want. Increased revenue by store, larger average order size, growing the new product line – while these are goals important to our marketing plans, our job as we’re writing these plans is to put the customer first. With trust eroding between businesses and their customers, a hard sell doesn’t cut it like it used to. Today’s buyers are savvier than ever, making it vital to consider asking questions like, “What do they truly want?” and “How do we help them?” Start your marketing plan by defining your buyer personas and how your company can best serve them. Only then can you layer in the company’s goals.
It forces you to set goals
Part of creating a detailed marketing plan is to align everyone on the team to success metrics. What’s the purpose of our marketing plan? Brand Awareness? Lead Generation? Whatever it is, once everyone agrees on it, we can start measuring it and questioning all our marketing activities around that goal. Does this campaign help us get new homeowner leads? If the answer is no, then we don’t need to do it.
It allows for creativity
The day to day of our jobs doesn’t allow us much time to think outside the box. We’re dealing with the latest issue so we can often get stuck in a marketing rut. We’ve always done TV, so we’re just going to repeat last year’s buy. However, that’s not serving the business, nor our customers. Dedicating time to do our marketing plans lets marketers do what we love best, create innovative ideas to connect with our consumers. During these times we are inspired with a higher level of creative thinking, like the idea of taking some of that TV money and putting it towards an up and coming event sponsorship whose attendees would never see a TV ad.
It’s a place you can always go back to
As we said before, things come up every year, new product launches, new ideas from the CEO, events we didn’t know were happening, all happen every year. However, this plan is a place you can always go back to. Check in with throughout the year. Find our way back to those goals.
As we close out 2018, it’s time to start planning for 2019. We encourage you not to skip it this year. Take a few days with your team and set out the plan.