Most business people have heard the old adage that a failure to plan is a plan to fail. Nothing could be more true when it comes to a marketing plan. An effective plan should be a carefully thought out document that allows for flexibility during the year. Whether working on this with an advertising agency or on your own, there are a few things you should keep in mind as you create your 2020 marketing plan.
Where Is Your Business
Start with now, where is your business today? What have you achieved in 2019? Look at your successes and failures and understand why they occurred. What were this year’s revenues and expenses? How did your 2019 marketing perform? This is a good time to undergo a SWOT analysis, looking at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Two metrics that are important to consider in this process are the Cost of Customer Acquisition (CCA) and the Lifetime Value of a Client (LVC). If you don’t know, it is vital information to learn. Reducing CCA will grow your bottom line and allow marketing budgets to go further. Understanding the LVC directly impacts what a business can spend to gain new clients.
Once you have established where your business is, develop your goals for 2020. A great way to set goals is to use the SMART technique. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Each goal must fit those 5 criteria.
Specific – The goal must be clear and easy to understand
Measureable – There needs to be a criteria for goal measurement
Achievable – The goal has to be realistic. If it is not believable it won’t happen
Relevant – Goals must be relevant to reaching a business objective.
Timely – When will the goals be reached
The next step is to work on marketing tactics for the coming year. When reviewing 2019 were there marketing tactics that worked better than others? Do you know what media your target audience consumes? Millenials will be better reached with Instagram, Snapchat and online video while Baby Boomers like traditional television and social platforms like Facebook. Think about how your prospects move through the sales funnel and have messaging for each phase. Advertising, public relations and lead generation are great for reaching cold prospects. Warm prospects, those who already know you, respond well to things like permission-based email, loyalty programs and events. Your warmest prospects will probably respond best to direct outreach via phone or email along with your other marketing efforts.
With goals and a strategy in hand it is time to break them down into easy to manage steps. One way to do that is look at monthly goals that add up to your yearly targets. This helps make goals more achievable. A business that requires 3 sales presentations to achieve a sale can take their yearly goal and reduce that to a monthly number. Where seasonality plays a role, create targets for each month individually. With the goals and targets for each month written down, an action plan can be implemented.
The hardest step for most businesses is establishing a marketing budget. Again, start with the 2019 budget and how it performed. If there was no budget in 2019 look at the Cost of Customer Acquisition and the Lifetime Value of a Client. Quite often, a marketing budget can be derived from the CCA and the goals for the year. In some industries clearly defined benchmarks exist that recommend spending a percentage of revenue or sales on marketing. Whatever formula you choose to use, there should be a clear path from your budget to your goals.
Finally, get going! Put your plan into action, delegate responsibilities and attack your goals.
Creating your 2020 marketing plan should be a thoughtful process. Use prior years’ experience to guide you. Having a clear picture of where the business stands today is essential to getting started. Spend time working on meaningful and achievable goals. Understand the costs involved to implement the marketing tactics that will produce the most cost-effective results. Use all of that information to formulate the marketing budget. Creation of your 2020 marketing plan is an exciting opportunity to strategize how to grow your business.
Have a GREAT 2020!