Your 2019 Marketing Plan: 6 Steps To Success
History is littered with the remains of failed expeditions. From disastrous wagon trails to abandoned Artic missions, there is no shortage of stories of people who, more foolhardy than brave, set out to conquer new territory with little or no planning or expertise.
Perhaps one of the most infamous of these is the story of William Wills and Robert Burke, who set off from Melbourne in 1860 to explore the Australian interior. The pair took three years to raise the funds for the expedition, but sadly did not devote any of that time to developing their sense of bushcraft! Among their “essential” supplies were a Chinese gong, a cedar topped table and chairs, flags and rockets!
Needless to say, their expedition was a disaster, and sadly, neither Burke nor Wills survived.
What has this to do with marketing, you may ask? Well, the story of Wills and Burke is a classic example of what happens when you fail to plan. Neither had the faintest idea what type of supplies they’d need, or how long the trip would take them. Nor did they select the right people to accompany them.
Early exploration was a matter of life and death. Marketing is more serious than that! But, just like a badly planned expedition, marketing is doomed to fail without a solid strategy in place. In this guide, we give you the six essentials of good marketing planning to ensure you start 2019 firmly ahead.
It’s All About The Audit
To develop a good marketing strategy, you first have to clearly understand your starting point. Where are you right now? There are three things you have to do to answer this question:
- Examine what has and hasn’t gone well in the past year. What worked and what didn’t? Carefully review the analytics that show your return on investment (ROI).
- Determine where your brand is currently positioned in terms of both the market conditions and your competitors.
- Carry out a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). How does your product or service measure up using this analysis, and what expertise can you access in-house?
This is a vital first step, and you shouldn’t rush it. It can be tempting to head straight into planning actual, practical activities, but this initial analysis is vital. You have to know where you are now in order to work out where you want to go next.
Set Specific Goals
Your goals for next year should include the markets you’d like to break into, the financial targets you hope to reach, or the awards you want to win. It’s also important in this stage to set more personal goals too – what do you personally want from the business? Be specific when setting your goals, as this makes it much easier to create a plan to help you achieve them.
Work As One team
It’s no good having 10 different teams working towards 10 different goals. That is just setting yourself up for failure. Your marketing plan must link to your business plan – after all, it is marketing’s role to help the company hit its business objectives. The key to success is co-operation between all the teams – from the C-suite all the way to the shop floor.
Get Your Marketing Budget Right
How much should you spend on marketing? This is such a difficult question to answer. When assigning a marketing budget, think about how much the activities that will drive your goals actually cost. As a rule of thumb, for B2B marketing, aim at spending between four and eight percent of your total business income. B2C marketing is often more expensive – up to 15 percent of your total income to launch a product or service, and as high as 25 percent for major branding initiatives. To devise a final figure, start by working out your marketing cost as a percentage of sales, then use the costs associated with your goals to reach a final number.
Ensure Sales And Marketing Are On The Same Page
If your sales and marketing teams are separate, it’s important to have a process to ensure they stay aligned with each other. Joint meetings are a good way to achieve this. Brief them on the goals for the business, and thoroughly detail the process you want them to follow to achieve these goals. It’s all very well wanting your teams on the same page, but you’re the one who needs to provide that page to begin with!
Monitor Progress Regularly
Setting and monitoring metrics is the key to your marketing success. You’ve established your goals, which in turn set your lead metrics, and it’s these you need to track to keep tabs on your progress.
Be aware that digital analytics can often lead businesses astray. Sometimes all they show is that there is activity, but they don’t actually tell you how you’re doing. Regardless of what your strategic goals are, there are two key marketing metricsyou should always measure: Marketing as a percentage of sales, and Cost per Acquisition. The first sets your budget and tracks your costs, while the second breaks down marketing spend and shows you how much you had to spend to acquire each customer, and what they’re actually worth to your business.
At the end of the day, of course, it’s all about ROI. If you’re not seeing a good return on your investment, you’re wasting your money.
Your future success depends on setting a solid plan. If you’d like some help with that, talk to us. At The Marketing Centre, we have a large team of highly skilled, part-time proven Marketing Directors ready to share their abundance of diverse know-how with you.
Give your growing business the expertise it deserves. Contact us today.