The words “annual marketing plan” may send shivers down your spine. It’s no simple task, but it is necessary and vital to your company’s long-term success. Within our recent series on annual marketing planning, we’ve covered creating quarterly marketing roadmaps as well as setting inbound marketing KPIs. Those articles are loaded with great, actionable details.
But what about the basics of creating the annual marketing plan itself? This intimidating assignment can be made less frightening by following five simple steps that can organize your thoughts and put your mind at ease.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Creating an Effective Marketing Plan
Hi. I’m Stacy Bouchard, Senior Inbound Marketing Consultant at Weidert Group. Before I came to Weidert, I spent nearly 20 years in corporate marketing, and in that time wrote or contributed to many marketing plans.
As we head into planning season, I’m going to share five basic guidelines that I’ve found are critical to putting together an effective annual marketing plan.
The first thing to do is to identify the business growth goals for your organization. Schedule meetings with the appropriate members of your leadership team and dig in to where the company is headed — or at least where they want to head — in the upcoming year. Getting input from your leadership at this stage will help you gain credibility and expedite buy-in on your final plan.
Next, set well-defined goals. Review what you’ve been able to accomplish in the current year to better understand what’s possible. Determine how progress will be measured, when it will be measured, and the KPIs you’ll use to track that progress.
The next very important part of your marketing plan is budget. Be realistic about what you can spend to execute your plan. Understanding your budget will help you identify and prioritize the tactics that will maximize your ROI.
Which leads us to number 4: Prioritize the strategies and tactics that align with growth initiatives and goals. Content is king in an inbound marketing plan. Use what you’ve learned in the earlier steps to integrate the right tactics and help you make progress on the overall goals in the most cost-effective way possible.
And finally, remain flexible and agile. Your marketing plan is not set in stone and your approach to executing it cannot be rigid. At Weidert Group, we use quarterly roadmaps to outline specific focus areas and tactics for the upcoming 90 days. This allows us to make changes based on data and changing environments while keeping our eyes on the bigger business growth initiatives.
Putting a marketing plan together can seem like a daunting task. And while it does require significant effort, keeping these five steps in mind will help you deliver a plan that’s aligned with your business growth goals and provide accountability for your team. Have fun!