Is Your Marketing Strategy Updated for 2020?
Each year, it is important to take time to do an overall assessment of your company or organization’s marketing strategy. Doing so can help you identify where you want to focus your efforts and how you need to shift your marketing plans to keep up with an ever-changing media and technological landscape. At Anania Media, we’ve distilled the steps for assessing and creating an annual marketing plan down to eight basic steps. They are:
- Define your target audience
- Determine your short-term and long-term goals
- Conduct an audit of your current marketing efforts
- Conduct a competitor analysis
- Identify and assess aspirational brands
- Determine a marketing and advertising budget
- Detail your marketing tactics
- Determine a plan for evaluating the results of your marketing methods
These steps are a basic guide to planning out your marketing strategy, providing you with a path that ensures you take into account all aspects of an effective strategy.
Define Your Target Audience
The first step in developing your marketing strategy should be to define who you are trying to sell to. Whether you’re selling goods or offering a service, there is an audience out there that is most likely to do business with you. To determine your target audience, start by asking yourself simple questions – who will be walking into my store in 2020? Who is picking up the phone to call me to make an appointment, or emailing me for more information about the services I provide? One of the tactics we like to use at Anania Media is to cut down your audience to job titles. What are the job titles of the people you want to gear your marketing towards? Lawyers? Accountants? Chefs? Stay-at-home moms? Teachers? All of the above? Using job titles as a way to define your audience is a way to get you thinking about demographics, though in a more general sense. For a more detailed dive into your audience, you absolutely should look into demographics – income levels of your clients/customers, towns of residence, marital status, gender, etc. All of this information comes in useful in crafting marketing materials, as well as in determining where to spend your advertising dollars.
Determine Your Short-term and Long-term Goals
When you’re developing a marketing strategy, you don’t want to just consider the what. You also need to consider the why. Why are you creating a marketing strategy and what will it help you accomplish? Determine your goals in three different categories – marketing, business development, and overall business. Marketing and business development are more likely to have short-term goals that are helping you achieve your long-term overall goals for your business.
Conduct an Audit Of Your Current Marketing Efforts
Every business has some form of marketing, even if they don’t have a dedicated marketing department. Before you begin crafting a new marketing plan for 2020, look at what you are currently doing. This might just be an assessment of your website and brand logo, or it might be a sweeping audit of dollars spent on tv advertising, digital ads and print materials. Take each piece of your current marketing efforts and evaluate what it is currently accomplishing (or not accomplishing) for you. How does your brand exist in your space? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your brand and your current strategy? How can you incorporate the strengths in 2020? Where can you improve your marketing materials and efforts throughout the year? Ask yourself these questions, and write down the answers so you have information and ideas to turn to while you create a new marketing plan.
Conduct a Competitor Analysis
Because your company doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it is also crucial to conduct an analysis of your competitors’ marketing efforts and branded materials. Look at the strengths and weaknesses of competitors within your region and within your industry, and identify areas where you can improve your own brand based on their successes. You want to assess your competitors’ marketing efforts from the perspective of how you can rise above and stand out in your space. Analyze your competitors, then use your 2020 marketing strategy to help you stand apart from them.
Identify and Assess Aspirational Brands
Identifying and assessing aspirational brands is a separate endeavor from analyzing competitors, as aspirational brands don’t even necessarily have to be in your industry. We recommend looking at two or three different brands, including one regional brand and one or two national brands. Aspirational brands can be brands that have printed materials, a digital presence, or an entire mission or presence that you admire. Looking at what your aspirational brands are doing correctly can help strengthen your own marketing efforts as you strive to achieve the kind of impressive presence that these brands have.
Determine a Marketing & Advertising Budget
As you begin to move towards designing and implementing your 2020 marketing plan, you need to know your budget. To have a successful implementation of your marketing plan, your budget needs to be more detailed than just having a total figure that you are able to spend on marketing throughout the year. Our advice is to create a spreadsheet in which you allocate available funds under different categories such as “Facebook ads,” “Printed materials,” “Google ads,” and so forth. To make this spreadsheet easily understandable for people who don’t ‘speak marketing,’ we also recommend adding descriptors. For example, under Facebook ads you could note that this money will be spent to reach X demographic via Facebook ads because they aren’t a demographic that is reachable by radio ads.
Detail Your Marketing Tactics
In addition to detailing your marketing budget, you should also detail individual aspects of your marketing strategy. Different people and different companies may find varying levels of detail work for them – one company may want to go as far as creating a monthly editorial calendar in advance, while another may find that simply having a bulleted list that includes ‘monthly blog’ as an element of their marketing strategy is sufficient. Every tactic included in your 2020 marketing plan should have an identifiable or trackable return on investment or ROI.
Determine a Plan For Evaluating the Results of Your Marketing Efforts
The final step we advise you take as you craft your 2020 marketing plan is to determine how you will be evaluating the effectiveness of your plan as you implement it. Decide which metrics you’ll be assessing, which tools you will be using to assess them, as well as how often you will be looking at the results. Month over month and year over date are two effective comparisons to look at. Keeping on top of your data and adjusting your strategies is key to a successful marketing plan implementation. It can also be fun to look at the data and see how much progress you have made!
Watch Our Full Discussion About the Eight Steps for Your 2020 Marketing Strategy
As you plan and implement your 2020 marketing strategy, we wish you the best of success. If you’d like to hear our full discussion on our eight steps for your 2020 marketing strategy, you can view the video podcast on our YouTube page. We regularly add new content with insights into marketing, digital media and business development, so be sure to follow the Anania Media YouTube Channel to stay up-to-date with our new material.