The New Year. A time for resolutions, diets, gym memberships and planning what you want to achieve / see / do in the year ahead. For many UK businesses, it’s the start of Q4 – the final quarter of the financial year. Q4 is a deciding quarter – if you’re ahead, you need to keep momentum and stay head. If you’re behind, then this is your last chance to catch up and finish the financial year well.
From a marketing perspective, there will be two trains of thought coming into the New Year. What tactics need optimising, tweaking or revisiting this year to work harder. And it’s time to start strategising your next 12 month marketing plan for the next financial year.
For us, our marketing plan is so closely linked to our sales objectives that it makes sense to conduct the planning concurrently with the finalisation of our financial budgets. This also gives us roughly a 3 month window to analyse the data from the previous year’s activities, spend time meeting with key stakeholders to understand their focus for the year and come up with lots of new, exciting ideas to bring to the plan.
Your marketing plan should outline 3 key things: your goals, your budget and your tactics.
Start by understanding your goals. What do you want to achieve in the next year? For example, do you want to grow your business – and if so by how much? Are you looking to reach a new audience or a higher proportion of your current audience? Do you need to drive more traffic to your website or convert more of the existing traffic on your website?
Once you know your goals, you can start to put together your budget. How much are you willing to spend on marketing? This will help you determine what tactics you can afford to use.
And then crucially, you’ll need to choose your tactics. Your tactics will be dictated by several elements including your budget, your target market, and your goals. For example, if you’re looking for quick conversions for top of funnel leads, with clear cost per lead associated, you’re unlikely to tactically deploy a long-term for this goal. However, if one of your goals is to eventually be able to generate leads without spending money, consider implementing an SEO strategy in conjunction with your current tactics to quickly convert leads – so you are aligning to both goals.
The important thing? Step outside the everyday – dive into the data but don’t forget to get creative. And there are plenty of agencies, like us, here to help if you need it!
Opinion piece by Verity Studley-Wootton – Head of Marketing Services at Air Marketing