As we head into 2022 it's time to start thinking about developing or revisiting your annual marketing plan. As a marketing leader, reviewing your marketing strategy for the new year will help keep you and your team on track to meet your goals and objectives and maximise on potential future opportunities. A well-thought-out strategy and can also be a great tool to help manage your senior leadership stakeholders from across the business.
Reviewing your marketing plan at the end of the year will allow you to ring in the new year with the structure you need for upcoming projects whilst remaining flexible and able to anticipate any changing market conditions. Planning can also be a great motivational tool. Encourage your team members, at all levels, to be involved in your annual planning. They will gain valuable learning experience and have the chance to contribute to the wider business successes, strengthening morale and building company culture.
What makes a good marketing strategy?
Your marketing strategy is your high-level plan for reaching potential consumers and converting them into customers. It should include your business’ “value proposition” - i.e., the statement of value that you promise to your customers, what you stand for, how you operate and why you deserve their custom - as well your key brand messaging and data on target customer demographics.
Good marketing strategies consider some of the following marketing fundamentals to best direct resources, take advantage of opportunities, satisfy customers and successfully position their product in relation to their competitors.
Once you know who your product or services’ target audience are, their interests, needs and concerns, you can create and targeted content that will connect with them.
Knowing your target audience means knowing their problems. Your marketing strategy should focus on demonstrating how you can provide solutions to their pain points.
What is it that sets your product apart? Why should customers choose you? Above all you should be focussing on how you can communicate this to your target audience in your campaigns.
Your strategy should address how you plan to approach your marketing campaigns. What marketing channels are most successful in reaching your target audience and gaining their trust? Strong strategies utilise an integrated approach covering a mix of channels.
How do you plan to see the campaign through to the end? Consider how you will address tracking engagement, what data analytics tools and techniques you might use and how you will make necessary tweaks and adjustments.
What to include in a marketing strategy:
Many marketing plans will include different sections focussed on a specific discipline, division or department. You may even need to create different plans for different marketing channels. However, there are some elements that should be included in any marketing strategy which spotlight wider operational, commercial and budgetary concerns.
Ensure your vision and mission statements sit at the beginning of your strategy and show how they inform your choices and plans.
Assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of your product and campaign. This identifies internal and external factors that can make the difference between success or failure in meeting your marketing goals.
Including a competitor analysis section in your marketing strategy can help you see what your competitors are doing right, and how they are failing. This information can show you how to stay relevant, what you might improve and where you can innovate.
There are many different tactics you might utilise in your strategy. Promotions and offers, numerous different media channels, paid advertising, digital channels and so on.
A clear schedule with deadlines for everything from product and campaign launches down to social media or blog posts will help you keep track of deliverables, keep you moving forward and identify any silos that may slow you down. Begin by setting a rough estimate on how long you think each step will take and track how long you actually spend to increase accuracy.
Define which KPIs and goals you intend to measure to evaluate your success. If your goal is to increase subscriptions, make more sales or drive up profits then choose KPIs which match these.
What is your overall budget, what expenses do you expect to incur and what are your expectations in terms of sales, profits and customer generation and retention? It is unlikely that your financial projections will be completely accurate, however, you should be able to show what the expected return on investment would be from your marketing strategy.
Examples of specific marketing plans
There is no set way to do a marketing plan, many are tailored to your particular sector, product, size of your business, budget, etc. A few of the most well known and used types of marketing plans include:
A social media plan should focus on determining which channels work best for your target audience by using data to establish where they engage most. It should establish what engagement is required from each channel used and track metrics accordingly. Typically, this would include:
Competitor analysis: To show which channels they use and how successful they are.
Current social content audit: Take stock of what channels you already use, what is and isn’t working and how you compare to the competition.
A yearly calendar overview: Create a calendar showing what content you intend to post and when based on events, holidays, trending topics, and your own internal calendars.
Optimisation plans: Research the best times to post and the recommended posting frequency for each channel.
Content marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies currently used as it allows you to build multi-channel touchpoints with your target audience to convey brand, value and the importance of your products or services. To create a comprehensive content strategy you should aim to clearly define your goals and proposed content’s target audience. If you already produce content that connects, use market research to determine if your target has changed or if you would like to expand. Next steps include:
Audit current content: Assess your current content to see what performs best, identify any gaps in topics and come up with new ideas.
Plan your positioning: Decide what content formats you intend to produce and identify the best channels for each format. Both of these will depend heavily on your target audience.
Email marketing is a great way to ensure your content is visible to the right people at the right time. To initiate a great email marketing strategy:
Segment your audiences: Analyse your existing database and segment subscribers to target emails more efficiently.
Analyse your content/messaging: Examine the data from your existing email strategy to find any areas that worked well, and which need improvement.
Update tech: Explore techniques such as personalisation, automation, UX improvements and ensuring emails open correctly on multiple devices to increase open rates and interaction.
Digital marketing can include email, content and social media marketing but it also includes search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click, display advertising, etc. To develop a comprehensive digital strategy, you should think about the following:
Goals and KPIs: As always, consider your goals and your target audience. This will allow you to have quantifiable metrics with which to measure success. It will also make it easier to determine which digital marketing channels to pursue.
Research and analysis: For SEO look at scalability, conduct keyword research and topic analysis which will allow you to produce content that target the specific keywords and phrases your audience searches for.
Something important to consider for any marketing strategy is if there are any specific skills you require from your team members that you currently lack and how will this affect your budget and timescale?
Successful marketing teams start with talented individuals that can collaborate effectively to drive performance and results. Our global talent consultancy at DMCG Global helps to quickly connect marketing agencies, in-house teams and brands with the right individuals anywhere on the planet. If you are looking for marketing professionals and would like a bespoke, high-quality recruitment service, our expert consultants will be happy to help.
Get in touch below to find out more.