If there’s one thing we’ve learned from building hundreds of annual marketing plans, it’s that proper planning requires a disciplined approach that evaluates the past and looks toward the future. This approach enables you to learn from past successes and failures, understand the changing market landscape, and align marketing strategies with your overall business objectives.
Setting aside time to consider these questions can enhance every part of your annual marketing plan — from setting more attainable goals to thinking more strategically about your annual budget.
5 Questions to Consider Before You Start Planning for 2024
Here are a few questions we ask our clients to help develop their annual marketing plan:
1. What lessons were learned from the successes and failures of the current year’s marketing efforts?
Developing a marketing plan can be challenging for a variety of reasons. You can’t expect to implement the same ineffective tactics and strategies and generate different results. On the other hand, what worked last year isn’t guaranteed to work again.
That’s why it’s helpful to truly dig into what worked and what didn’t. For example, let’s say that you ran a marketing campaign last year that was very successful. What made the campaign so successful? Was it the target audience? The messaging? The timing? Once you know what worked, you can replicate or change those elements in future marketing campaigns.
2. What are the overall business goals and objectives for the upcoming year?
As a business owner or marketer, you know that your marketing plan should be aligned with your overall business goals and objectives. That’s why it’s so important to ask yourself this question before you start building your plan.
This is where getting insights and perspectives from stakeholders across the company can be valuable. For example, if your company has a goal to launch a new division or product, you’ll need to invest significant marketing resources toward that effort. If you’re interested in building your team and hiring more employees, you could incorporate that goal into your marketing efforts.
3. What are the main challenges and opportunities in the market that you need to address?
New technologies are emerging, new competitors are entering the market, and customer expectations are evolving. Discover what your potential customers might be thinking as time goes on before you start building your marketing plan.
By understanding these challenges and opportunities, you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. You might focus on developing more personalized marketing campaigns, or you might invest in new service offerings that can help you stay ahead of the competition.
4. How can you improve and ensure alignment between marketing and other departments within the organization?
In order for your marketing plan to be successful, you need to have alignment between marketing and other departments within your organization. Improving alignment between sales and marketing is an essential step. As you develop your plan for next year, be sure that your marketing and operations departments are working together to address any scalability issues. When everyone is working together in the same direction, you’re more likely to achieve your marketing goals and objectives.
5. How will you evaluate your efforts and pivot if needed?
What are you going to do if your tactics fail or another opportunity arises? Knowing the answer to this question before you build your marketing plan can be incredibly helpful. It’s difficult to fix the plane if you have to build the instruction manual while it’s crashing. By building mechanisms for evaluation and adjustment, you create the opportunity to pivot your marketing efforts without abandoning your entire strategy.
Let Green Apple Strategy Help You Plan
Need some help getting started on next year’s marketing goals? Check out this Green Apple guide to start planning!