Happy New Year! Welcome to 2014. Now let’s get to work. Hopefully by now you have jotted down some ideas about the coming year’s marketing. If you haven’t, then break out that pen and paper because it is time to get started. Developing a marketing plan for a whole year may seem daunting, but if you know where to start it can come together in no time at all. However, don’t forget that the world of marketing is forever evolving. Keep an ear to the ground for new strategies that could potentially benefit you and your company.
First, develop objectives that you’d like to accomplish in 2014. Make sure your goals are specific and measurable. For example, “increase email click through rates by 10% or grow the email database by 35%.” Avoid vague goals that are difficult to objectively measure; such as, “have better landing page creative.” Instead, confirm that your marketing objectives align with the overall goals of your company.
Now that you have your set of objectives for the year, work backward to decide how you are going to achieve those goals with specific promotions and tactics. Are there new strategies you are going to try? Is there a process you need to educate yourself on before launching an initiative? Be specific about the steps you are going to take to achieve your objectives and begin to prioritize the steps you develop.
As you develop your strategies for the coming year, don’t forget to stay up-to-date on current trends. However, instead of copying what someone else is doing, find your strengths and execute on them. Continue to utilize the channels that have worked in the past and continue to grow your presence in the digital space.
Keep an eye on your budget, constantly. Right now, the pile of money is as big as it is going to get all year long. Be sure to periodically check on your budget as you consider new programs and your steadfast campaigns. Allow room in your budget to make mistakes while you experiment with new trends and concepts.
So, what’s trending for 2014? Data. The advent of digital marketing allows an incredible amount of personalization. This means that your message gets to the right person, at exactly the right time, and in the best possible context for that individual to receive it with a positive reaction. You can utilize search, social, mobile, and all the other digital buzzword channels. In the end, it all comes back to data. Having an expansive and accurate database is the first phase to making your digital marketing efforts work for you. Managing your database, whether you are just beginning or are a seasoned veteran, should be a part of your 2014 strategy.
The final step in your marketing plan should be to make time in your calendar, now. Your schedule for the coming year likely has a few recurring calls, meetings, or perhaps some vacation time booked. Before it gets bogged down with new meetings and events, schedule blocks of time for you and your team to work on the strategies and promotions you’ve decided on in the previous steps. Your calendar will certainly change, but having the time blocked off will help to remind you regularly of what you want to achieve. Putting the time in your calendar now will also help you decide if you have too much or too little planned for the year. Consider both your time and your prospect or customer’s time; neither of you should be overwhelmed.
At the end of each year, make time to plan for the following year and to analyze how the current year is going. The better you assess this year, the more prepared you will be while planning for the next and following years thereafter.