‘Tis the season to review and renew those marketing plans. Before closing the books on 2018, organizations should take the time now to get a head start on ensuring a successful 2019.

Effective marketing plans lies at the heart of an organization’s revenue and profit-making activities and provide structure around key decision-making. Taking the time now to evaluate your company’s marketing efforts over the past year lets you strategically apply that information to make a smarter, better marketing plan for the upcoming year.

Revisiting your plan ensures that your management team is given the chance to assess the status of your marketplace and determine how it affects your organization. It further creates benchmarks for measuring future campaigns.

By reviewing your marketing plan before the year ends, you can capture and distill that learning and chart a stronger path to achieving your 2019 business objectives.

Under review: 6 key considerations

to help you review and renew

As you take a good hard look at your 2018 marketing strategy, consider these six elements to set a stronger course for 2019.

1. Consider what’s changed in your market. You can’t control changes in the economy or new government regulations over the past year, but you can and should address them with a well-conceived marketing strategy going forward.

The same holds true for identifying and addressing trends within your industry. Staying up to date will keep you ahead of the game.

2. Consider what’s happening with your competition. Take a quick inventory of your competitors’ marketing efforts. Have they ramped up their advertising or pulled back? Launched a new website? Pushed out a blog series?

Recognizing their strategies is helpful in creating yours, but be careful not to obsess over it. Spending too much time worrying about what your competitors are doing can interfere with your own success. The goal here is to get insights you can use to build a marketing plan that’s authentic to your own organization’s objectives.     

3. Consider past successes and failures. It’s important to review the campaigns you executed in 2018. Did you set measurable goals for your marketing efforts and were they reached? Why or why not? What tactics were successful in driving sales, getting you closer to your customer, or building brand awareness? Which were not?

Be honest in your evaluation. It’s OK to admit failure or disclose lackluster results. It’s also OK to want to try those tactics again, knowing what you know now. Learn from those efforts and bring that understanding into your new plan.  

4. Consider new ways to reach your target audiences. It’s surprising how many organizations are still not using social media in their marketing arsenal or publishing content. The tried-and-true marketing channels (advertising, direct mail, public relations, etc.) are always important cornerstones to any marketing plan, but why continue to overlook other effective and dynamic new channels for reaching and engaging with your customers and prospects?

Let this be the year you add at least one new tactic to your plan.

5. Consider major initiatives. From new products, to new services, to new distribution channels, be sure to review last year’s launches and take any lessons learned into planning next year’s big initiatives or product introductions.

6. Consider your budget. Clearly defined marketing objectives require a realistic budget. Be sure to assess last year’s spending against the return on that investment, and make honest adjustments going forward. Could you have realized better results with a healthier budget? Where did you overspend?

If budgets are limited in the coming year, consider investing in your top priorities.

Happy Review Year!

Your 2019 marketing plan should be simple (so everyone can understand it), actionable (with objectives/goals for every month, quarter, etc.), measurable (with explicit goals), and specific. Basing it on a year-end review of your 2018 plan will provide the best start to your 2019.

 

Meghan Murphy is vice president, media and account services with Khrome.