Starbucks has added the highly-anticipated pumpkin spice flavor to its menu, radio stations are planning their upcoming holiday music playlists, fall foliage is just around the corner, and scary Halloween decorations seem to be popping up just about everywhere I go (yes, I’m a scaredy cat). So this could all only mean one thing…it’s time to start planning your 2016 marketing programs!
If you aren’t on the 2016 program planning bandwagon yet, you could be late to the game! (Seriously, people, we’re just days away from entering Q4…and we know how fast that’s going to go!). Whether you are marketing to other businesses or to consumers, planning is the most important thing you can do to ensure a successful year ahead. This blog will give you some planning help with our program plan templates for both B2B Marketers and Consumer Marketers and walk you through some important questions to consider.
As this year comes to a close, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- Evaluation: What worked well this year, and thus what will work well next year? This is probably the hardest part of your planning because it involves looking back at previous programs and determining which ones will be successful going forward. You’ll have to analyze which channels performed the best and which ones didn’t perform at all in comparison to what you expected, and why. You’ll also want to look forward and define what success will look like for the future. Ask yourself: What do you expect to see and how will you measure against it?
- Goals: What are your main objectives for the upcoming year? Based on your company’s overall business objectives, you need to determine what is important to your business in the coming year and then create a hypothesis on what you think you will achieve. This could be as basic as a 10% increase in new names and conversions across the board. But it could also signify important company objectives such as increasing brand awareness to a certain segment about your new product. You need to establish this ahead of time so you know which programs you need to run to hit your goals.
- Tasks: Which programs are you going to run in order to hit your goals? Once your goals are set in stone, determining how you will hit them is your next challenge. With all these new marketing technologies, your program mix most likely won’t be the same for next year as it was for this year. However, discovering what has worked in the past is valuable information to decide what to do in the future. For example, what was your top performing channel for conversions this year? In deciding which programs to run, you might increase your top performing programs and decrease your poor performing programs. Examples of the programs you need to decide on include emails, PPC, social, and events. It’s also important to figure out a calendar of your big events, content, and programs to ensure you have enough planned for each month and to ensure that those programs are shared across teams and regions. A centralized marketing calendar, like Marketo Calendar HD, helps you track your performance against your goals.
- Resources: Which resources do need to accomplish your tasks? Now look at you! You’ve got your goals; you’ve decided on your program mix. Well that is where resources come in. This is your chance to figure out which tools you need to be successful, including content, software, people, and education. For example, if your goal is to expand awareness on a certain product and you are determined to promote it on social and PPC, what content are you going to need to do this? Specific content pieces are a resource you should request. This is also where you can start planning out your budget.
To help you simplify your planning process and enable you to answer these questions, we have created a handy customizable PowerPoint deck to help you organize and streamline your marketing projects and programs. AND we have created two versions: one for marketers who market to other businesses and one for marketers who market to consumers. Yay, something for everyone!
So, get your PSL (pumpkin spice latte) ready and start planning so that when your manager calls you into their office asking what you have planned for the upcoming year, you will be thoroughly prepared (and caffeinated)!