As the end of another year draws closer, it’s a good opportunity to review the year’s activities and assess the successes you’ve had, as well as any learnings to take into 2020. If you haven’t quite seen the results you wanted, don’t write the year off as a failure, instead take the opportunity to inform plans for the next one.
The complexity of marketing channels and erratic nature of the customer journey can make attributing ROI challenging. So, if you’re not able to calculate definitive ROI on some of your activity, this could suggest that you need more clearly defined outcomes going forward.
We’ve put together some of the key steps to consider when planning your marketing activity for the year ahead, and some tips for regularly reviewing along the way.
Devise your plan
With a full year’s lead and sales targets ahead, there is a danger of bowing to the pressure of getting on with it, setting aside your plan or even justifying that a formal plan isn’t necessary. However, as we’ve highlighted, without clearly defined goals and outcomes, attributing success at channel level can be tricky. Additionally, acknowledging previous activities and learnings is crucial insight into planning and assigning budget.
As a basic starting point, your 2020 marketing plan should outline your goals for the year, with an overview of your key target audiences and how you plan to reach them with a channel strategy. A rough calendar overview, with key dates, events and campaign activity, will be invaluable in ensuring your activities begin and stay on track.
Test before launch
A vital starting point for any new marketing plan is to review the results of previous activities; in this context adopting a solid ongoing testing strategy will pay dividends. Without this, how can you be sure you are investing in the right areas and that your campaigns will reach the right audience and convert? Before you make substantial investments or weight budget heavily to particular channels, you need confidence and insight in your strategy based on solid data and experience.
What is more, marketing plans are not set in stone and incorporating testing as you execute your plan gives you the opportunity to learn as you go and review and improve campaign performance. Testing enables you to make regular optimisations and tweaks with the grounding of data behind your decisions, as opposed to blindly executing a campaign based on assumptions. Test, test and test again.
Review early and often
Similarly, why wait until the end of a campaign period or end of the year to review performance? Regular reviews allow you to tweak tactics, redistribute budget and make those small but valuable amends that could ultimately lead to better conversion rates – or more consistent results that don’t fluctuate drastically month on month. Regular review periods should also mean you won’t have any unwelcome surprises at the end of the next year.
Close the loop
One of the most important aspects of reviewing campaign performance and adjusting your activity is to ensure what you are delivering remains aligned to the current priorities for the whole business. Sharing results on an ongoing basis and gathering feedback from a wider team ensures you are in sync. There is no point, for example, in stepping up activity if your sales team is already struggling with a backlog of leads. This ‘closed loop’ approach must also encompass your customers so it is important to keep the customer at the heart of your strategy with mechanisms that gather feedback and incorporate insight back into the overall strategy. It is also important to gather feedback across the customer’s whole journey with you, whether initial market research to determine appetite for your product or post-sales customer satisfaction research to determine how your products have been received.
If you’re going into 2020 feeling a little uncertain, unsure of your direction of travel or where to begin in terms of executing your plan, an outsourced sales and marketing service might offer a solution. Our telemarketing experts can cleanse and enhance your marketing database, gather insights across the customer journey to inform your strategy and personalise your approach, and generate demand at any stage of your sales process to help your business grow. For almost 30 years we have worked with hundreds of clients across almost every sector. If you would like to discuss how we might help you execute your 2020 plan, get in touch today.