Ahhhh it’s that time of year again, when almost every other aisle in the local supermarket is beginning to pile high with Christmas products, councils start announcing which celebrity is graced with the task of turning on the Christmas lights and children start handing over unrealistic Christmas present ideas on scrappy pieces of paper (Dad, what do you mean I can’t have a quad bike?). All this and it’s only November!!
It may still be around six weeks away, but now that Halloween and Bonfire Night are out of the way, it’s officially the run up to Christmas! But for us poor souls in the Account Management game, we’re not only thinking of Turkey dinners but also our client’s plans for the New Year ahead. By plans, we mean marketing plans and strategic planning. Most marketers will be acutely aware that these need some serious planning and as an Account Manager, it’s on our heads to ensure that we are all on board and make the ideas come to life.
So what makes a good plan? It’s a tough question with many an answer depending on who you talk to. First of all, you have to work out what success would look like in a years’ time. Is the aim to double turnover? Or is it a little more of a modest goal such as keeping sales steady? This is normally called goal setting and is a crucial part in ensuring your marketing plan is a success. If this isn’t defined at the start, you risk driving down an aimless track. Normally, assessing what works or has historically worked will help you focus your goal setting. It isn’t uncommon for companies to look at their returns from print budgets and decide that a more diverse campaign might be needed. And this doesn’t stop at just your returns! You need to consider factors like is your brand still fresh enough for the year ahead? You’ll need to answer this in order to fully understand whether your brand communications still say what they need to say.
But who are the brand comms talking to? Re-evaluating your target audience is also key and this needs to be done in good time. In short, it’s all about avoiding flogging a dead horse. This is even more pertinent if your business is seasonal and without some basic research and a collation of a few concrete facts, you’ll always risk guessing.
Attaching solid ideas to the strategy is the next part of the puzzle. This means planning what communication or material goes out with a budget assigned to each item. This doesn’t have to mean every last penny is measured against every individual item, but more of a case of ensuring that you spread your resources effectively.
All of this brings me back to the question I asked in the beginning about measuring success. Marketing plans are never set in stone and whilst you should try to stick to it where possible, things change. And when things do change, you will still need to measure! If it isn’t measured, it isn’t helpful to you when you start weighing up what worked and what didn’t. As a brand communications agency, marketing plans are a massively useful tool for us. If you’d like to discuss your year ahead and what we can do for you, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01260 281546.