Are you in charge of creating your business’s marketing plan for the upcoming year? A marketing plan is a strategic blueprint that your business can follow to execute your marketing strategy over a given period of time. With so many moving pieces, many marketers find themselves mired deep in the weeds when creating a marketing plan. And while the small details matter, it’s also important to keep your head up and not miss out on the big picture.
For example, before you start planning your year, you’ll need to make sure you can accurately define your target audience. Since you can’t be everything to everyone, you’ll need to know the profile of the audience that will be on the receiving end of your marketing plan. To help you create the most effective marketing plan that you and your team can successfully execute this year, we’re sharing five common pitfalls and what you should do instead.
1. DON’T forget to communicate with other business stakeholders. DO agree on marketing expectations.
At the onset, the marketing team and the business as a whole should set expectations with one another and agree on a definition of success for the year. Select the KPIs that should be tracked and make sure that everyone will be evaluating the success of your campaigns with the same critical eye. This will help you avoid miscommunications and make it easier to show the business the true value of your marketing efforts.
2. DON’T plan channels in a vacuum. DO take a wholistic approach to planning.
A strong marketing plan will set the tone for all of your brand’s communications channels and how they can support one another. Make sure that your paid, owned and earned channels all have a comprehensive strategy and a direction, so nothing gets left behind. You don’t want consumers to fall out of your marketing funnel because one channel is getting neglected in favor of another. If you keep your efforts balanced on all three, even if that means redistributing resources, it will ensure you raise your awareness, convert consumers to customers and create loyal fans and repeat buyers.
3. DON’T create content on the fly. DO have a content strategy.
As you prioritize your marketing plan’s communications channels, make sure that you have a realistic plan outlined for content creation. Do you have a team member writing new content for you? Or a service where you can source articles? How many content pieces can be produced or sourced per month?
All of these questions will help you get a better picture of what is realistic and help inform many other parts of your marketing plan. Trying to source or create content on the fly will not only be stressful but might lead you to sharing lower quality pieces than you might have otherwise with a little advanced planning.
4. DON’T overload your social media. DO pace yourself.
We all know that social media is an important part of our marketing equations, but sometimes we marketers have a tendency to hear that and try to go all in on every social media network available. Then it becomes difficult to create enough content for all those channels. Instead of diving in headfirst to everything trendy, think about your target audience and start sustainably. Spend your efforts where your audience already is and focus on creating great content for one or two social media platforms. It’s better to master a couple than to dabble in many.
5. DON’T act randomly. DO follow a roadmap.
By making a marketing plan you’re already in the right headspace for this advice. But the plan is just the first step. As you enact your plan, keep track of your efforts so in the future you can better evaluate what you did and directly correlate your results to those efforts. You can use a project management tool, a social media scheduler tool and/or just an Excel spreadsheet. But at the end of the year, you’ll want to be able to review your efforts. If you deviate from the plan and make random changes without documentation, you won’t be able to attribute your gains to your marketing plan or calculate an accurate ROI.
With these tips, we know you can have a successful year! Not sure where to start on your marketing plan or looking for extra hands to help you complete all the work? B&Y can be your go-to partner in either of those scenarios. Start a conversation today about working together.