New Year, New Plan: Developing Your Marketing Plan

Closing deals and planning for next year. That pretty much sums up the Q4 to-do lists for most business development and marketing leaders. But before you start punching numbers into an Excel spreadsheet, it’s important to review your current marketing plan and the costs associated with that plan in relation to the year-to-date revenue generated.

Below are some tips to help you begin your planning process and set a budget that will deliver the biggest bang for your marketing buck in the New Year.

Evaluate what worked and what didn’t.

Now is the time to be honest.  Determine which of your marketing activities netted the most qualified leads.  Which ones didn’t work as well as you thought they would?  Assign a larger portion of your budget to those tactics that worked best. Also, prioritize your current lead list so you can devote more resources to the most profitable targets.

Factor in time as well as money.

Some marketing tactics require large amounts of your time, such as attending tradeshows. The “cost” of a tactic should include actual dollars spent as well as man-hours.  Evaluating the combination of these factors will help you determine the real ROI of each marketing tactic.

Consider active vs. passive tactics.

There will always be a place for advertisements – especially for helping to build brand recognition. However, these are a “passive” form of marketing. A successful marketing strategy utilizes both “passive” and a range of “active” tactics. Inbound marketing, search engine optimization and channel partnership development are just a few ways to engage prospective clients.

Work to position yourself as an industry expert.

Being quoted in an industry publication, authoring a whitepaper or speaking at a conference gives you instant credibility. If approached in a strategic manner, the time and money devoted to these kinds of thought leadership activities can net excellent results.

Setting your annual marketing plan is more of an art than a science. Start with a clean canvas by taking the time to evaluate past tactics, then you can create a plan that is measurable, flexible and utilizes a variety of proven and new tactics to deliver the best results.