Marketing Planning and the Perfect Timing [A Guide]

Strategy is so important to us that it’s part of our name. So naturally, we are big proponents of planning ahead when it comes to your marketing strategy. The short answer to the question of this blog’s title is that it’s never too early to begin crafting your approach to next year’s marketing strategy. Today, we’ll take a deeper dive into the reasons why that’s true. We’ll also highlight a few factors to consider while you’re doing that advance marketing planning. 

Benefits of an Annual Plan

With sufficient planning, you can keep all of your marketing efforts organized, maintain audience engagement with quality content, and adapt to changes in your industry faster. All of this means you’ll give your business the ability to thrive and stay one step ahead of the competition. 

Ideally, a good annual marketing plan should be high-level, since things change all the time, and act as a guide for multiple stakeholders. This approach is especially helpful for large teams working to stay on the same page and obtain the same end goal. An overarching marketing plan can unite your sales team, your business development team, your in-house and outsourced marketing team, and your C-suite executives.  It’s a useful tool that can help create a streamlined and focused tactical plan that everyone can get on board with. 

Planning for the Busiest Times of Year

While long-term planning is ideal, you should plan at least six months ahead of your busiest time of year. Regardless of whether your busy season is summer or the holidays, giving yourself ample time to prepare is a sure way to drive optimal results. If you’re not sure when your brand sees the most business, it may be time to run an audit on your social media, website traffic, and other indicators of surging interest. With the right data, you can create a solid marketing funnel that can translate increased interest and search queries into qualified leads and sales. 

Strategic Planning

Rather than using last year’s ideas or “institutional wisdom” to drive your planning decisions, embrace a mindset of data-based continuous improvement to develop a marketing plan based on your organization’s long-term strategy and vision. Data analysis can also help you hone and direct your annual marketing budget. Although it can be tempting to follow a gut feeling about where your leads are originating, the data may indicate a different funnel. For instance, while social media is essential for building brand integrity, email marketing may have more ROI in your annual revenues.  

What Happens When You Need to Pivot?

The best laid plans of mice and men… often need to be reframed in the light of your analytics! While that’s not exactly how the Robert Burns quote goes, it’s definitely something we focus on at Green Apple. The best marketing strategies are nimble and should allow you to drop one strategy or double down on an effective tactic if the data backs it. Don’t be concerned if you need to scrap your current strategy and recalibrate! That should be an expected part of the marketing planning process, and it means you’re committed to an evidence-based approach. If you need help interpreting the data or you need help collecting more information points, we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to turn to an outsourced marketing team to support your in-house team with all the initiatives they’re launching. 

Let Us Help You Achieve Your Goals

Need some help getting started on next year’s marketing goals? Check out this Green Apple guide to start planning! Our team is here to help you build an effective strategy to help your brand achieve its business goals.

Your Marketing Plan for 2022: 7 Attainable Goals

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With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s time to start preparing your 2022 strategic marketing plan. The new year is a perfect chance to start fresh, with innovative ideas, new traditions, and creative campaigns. Before you determine what needs to change, what objectives should be established, or what goals you want to meet, take a look at these seven attainable goals to add to your marketing plan for 2022. These key components just might make this one your most successful year yet.

Include Your Team in the Process

It’s essential to involve your team in company decisions, especially the choices that will directly impact them. Whether it’s a financial, communications, or company-wide plan, you don’t need to take on this task alone. 

Inviting your team to collaborate with you creates a more collaborative environment. Plus, incorporating your employees in big decision plans builds company trust, morale, camaraderie, and reliability. Everyone brings a new perspective, and it’s critical to engage them.

Construct a SWOT Analysis from 2021

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are essential when planning your next move. Without the deep dive into your previous campaigns and strategies, you’re unable to determine why something was or wasn’t successful. By conducting your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis, you’re unveiling endless growth possibilities and positive outcomes.

Here are some examples of each to ask your team:

  • Strengths:
    • Where do we excel?
    • What are our assets?
    • What do customers like about us?
  • Weaknesses:
    • Where are areas of improvement?
    • What complaints do we receive from customers, employees, or stakeholders?
    • How much debt do we have?
  • Opportunities:
    • What trends may positively impact our industry?
    • Is there a niche that we should be targeting?
    • How is the market changing?
  • Threats:
    • Could specific regulations discount our company?
    • What methods have our competitors tried that we have not?
    • Where can our weaknesses be exposed?

Review Your Mission and Vision Statements

Everything you do should reflect who you are as a company. Ask your team and yourself questions like, “What do we value? What differentiates us from the competition? Why do we exist?” It can be easy to get lost in trends or follow others but don’t forget about your originality and what makes you stand out from the competition. 

Your annual plan should heavily incorporate goals and concepts that demonstrate what makes you, you. When conducting a team meeting, request feedback on what they admire most about the company, why the values are substantial, or where the gaps are to be more purposely filled. 

Develop Your 3-5 Year Strategic Plan

While it may seem like overkill, you should always be thinking about what your next step is. (Spoiler alert, your competition is already doing it). Think of your prospective finances, budget, timeline, business size, and more to keep you on track for success. 

Brainstorm methods for increasing your revenue, committing to your values, executing SWOT findings, and expanding your goods or services. No goal is too big, and you can always readjust next year!

Make Your Goals and Objectives Clear

Write or type your goals and objectives for each category you’re preparing and have a timeline for each action item. Including Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) in your initial planning will help keep you accountable as often as you need, whether that’s month-to-month or quarterly.

Examples in Action:

  • Goal: Grow our social media following
  • Objective: Increase social media audience by 30% by April 1, 2022
  • Goal: Strengthen employee morale
  • Objective: Increase employee feedback survey to a 90% average by 2023
  • Goal: Expand our client list
  • Objective: Increase subscription rate by 60% by June 15, 2022

Establish Metrics for Success

If you do not already have Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google My Business, be sure to implement them! These resources do not cost you anything to configure, and they give you valuable information that can help gain traffic, leads, and revenue. 

Don’t forget that surveys are also a fantastic method to gather feedback. Whether your plan is for external or internal communicators, questionnaires are immediate results where you can discover if something new or existing is working or not. 

Break Down Your Priorities 

In order to drive your results and keep your team more motivated, break down your priorities into annual and quarterly tasks. Your annual tasks are your higher-level, bigger-picture goals that you want to accomplish. Once you develop your yearly milestones, hone in on quarterly projects that will help you attain them. Three quarterly projects are a good rule of thumb to start and work your way from there. 

Creating Your Marketing Plan for 2022?

Green Apple Strategy is a full-service marketing agency that connects clients to communications experts, conducts valuable strategies, and delivers quality work. Are you ready to begin your 2022 strategic planning with our team of specialists? Connect with us today to schedule a consultation and start implementing your best year yet.