If your company isn’t creating a new marketing plan every year, you’re missing out on opportunities to grow your business and prove marketing return on investment. An annual marketing plan helps your team set and achieve marketing goals, maximize your budget, and guide your business toward sustainable growth.  

As this year comes to a close, make sure you’re prepared with a plan of action to hit the ground running in the new year. Keep reading to learn 4 tips for creating a robust marketing plan in 2021.  

1. Review the Past Year

It’s time to dig into the past year (and perhaps even the past few years) and take note of what worked and what didn’t. Dive into the performance data to determine which campaigns generated the most brand visibility, leads, web traffic, conversions or engagement. Compile lists of the top-performing ads, blogs, and social media posts from the previous year. With your team, analyze your best-performing campaigns or content pieces and brainstorm what made them so successful. 

Studying your successes can help you gain a better understanding of where your audience is, how they’re connecting with your brand, and what they find most engaging. You can incorporate these insights during your strategy sessions. 

Identifying your failures has just as much value as celebrating your successes. Singling out the campaigns or marketing efforts that didn’t pan out can help you cut the fat for next year and invest resources and marketing dollars into more effective channels. 

2. Refresh Your Research

Your industry is constantly growing and changing, and you shouldn’t rely on the same knowledge to craft your marketing plans year after year. Take some time to do market research, refine and update your buyer personas, and scope out your competitors — both established competitors and new ones. Staying on top of emerging trends can help keep your marketing fresh and ensure you’re reaching the right audience.    

3. Set Measurable Goals

You can’t know how effective your campaigns are or measure marketing return on investment (ROI) without specific, measurable and attainable goals. First, you and your team need to identify your primary objectives for the coming year: Do you want to generate more website traffic through paid advertising? Do you want blogs or website pages to rank higher on SERPs? Do you want to increase the number of leads you receive from your website? After you have your top goals written down, link them to benchmark metrics for performance.   

From there, you can set specific monthly or quarterly goals to meet that will help keep you on track throughout the year. Once you’ve determined your priority marketing objectives, try to stick to them throughout the year. You’ll find it’s much harder to measure overall growth and progress if you shift objectives midway through completion.      

4. Flesh Out Strategies and Tactics

Now it’s time to look at your goals one by one and identify the best strategies and tactics to help you meet them. This includes determining which channels are most effective for achieving specific outcomes and brainstorming tactics that will help further your goals. 

Using one of the examples from the previous section, let’s say a primary annual goal is to generate more website traffic through paid advertising. First, you may decide that Google Ads and Facebook ads are the most effective channels to reach your audience. Next, you may analyze high-performing keywords to target for your Google ads. Then, you may choose a specific audience to target for Google and Facebook ads. The above are examples of specific, focused tactics that will help your marketing efforts succeed.     

5. Determine Your Budget and Resources

Of course, none of the goals you’ve outlined are possible without the budget and resources behind them. As you discuss marketing objectives and the tactics you’ll use to meet them, keep track of the budget, time, and staff support you’ll need for each campaign or project. After you’ve created your marketing plan for the year, make sure the budget you need matches with the budget available for marketing efforts. If the money just isn’t there, you may need to move some of your objectives to next year. 

Now is also the time to make sure you have the staff and resources you need for effective production next year. Does your team have a project management platform to organize tasks and keep projects on track for completion? Do you have a collaborative tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams to communicate with team members in the office and remotely? Do you have the team members you need to carry out campaigns? You may need a copywriter, graphic designer, SEO expert, social media coordinator, or paid advertising specialist to ensure successful marketing efforts. 

Make sure you include resources as part of your overall budget needs for the year. Without adequate tools, time and staff, you won’t be able to bring your goals to fruition. 

Need Help With Your Marketing? Contact NewGen Marketing Today.

At NewGen Marketing, our executive team has spent decades driving marketing and sales initiatives for industry-leading health care brands. Our strategies are based on performance marketing; we analyze the data from marketing campaigns to determine where we can allocate resources most efficiently into channels that are generating traffic, engagement, leads, conversions and sales. We make sure you’re not wasting a single dollar that you’re putting into marketing spend.

Ready to hire a marketing agency who can drive more to your bottom line? Contact NewGen Marketing today for a free consultation.