The fourth-quarter is a time for planning, recalibrating and, of course, budgeting. When it comes to planning marketing activities for the year ahead, consider these key criteria before setting your new marketing budget:
Success metrics from the current year
Marketing is a living, breathing organism. While planning is vitally important, it is unlikely that a business or nonprofit can effectively chart 12-months of marketing activities at the start of the New Year and proceed straight through without any tweaks or refinements.
When outlining marketing goals and objectives for the upcoming year, let data help to inform the strategy. Which marketing campaigns were most effective this year? Which marketing channels generated the most leads? Which events created the most upselling opportunities?
Gaps in the marketplace
In a competitive business environment, it is important not only to understand what your competitors are doing to market themselves and attract new clients, but also what opportunities the competition is not pursuing. For example, is there a series of business events in your community that your competitors are neither sponsoring nor attending where you could potentially make new connections and generate leads? Is there an opportunity to partner with another firm in your market who may be able to make some important introductions and pass along warm leads? Knowing where these gaps and opportunities lay can help to inform the allocation of marketing resources and budget.
Impending business changes
Does your company plan to make an acquisition during the year ahead? Will you be opening a new facility, adding significant staff, expanding product/service offerings, etc.? Changes to your overall business model can significantly influence both your marketing plan and budget. Launching something new requires not only awareness-building and education, but a strategic focus on integrating the “new” with the “old” to ensure stakeholders maintain a holistic understanding of who you are, what you do and why it matters.
Trying something new
As digital marketing channels continue to multiply and marketers eagerly anticipate “what’s next?”, it is important to consider which marketing channels you will add to your toolkit during the year ahead. Whether you aspire to become more visual and leverage channels like Instagram and YouTube, or seek to maximize the value of industry tradeshows by exploring speaking and sponsorship opportunities, it is important to consider how doing more will impact your budget and how your bandwidth can scale to effectively seize these additional opportunities. While it can be tempting to be everywhere and try everything, maintaining high quality should always be the priority.
As businesses and nonprofits evaluate their marketing successes and missteps from the past year, it is important to identify opportunities to replicate wins and minimize losses during the year ahead. As you embark upon setting marketing goals and objectives, focus on prioritizing your marketing budget to support the activities with the potential to generate the greatest ROI.
Need help setting up your marketing plan for 2017? Contact us today!