What's Your Plan for Next Year?

Now that the holidays are nearly over, it’s time to think about your marketing strategy for next year. You do update your marketing plan each year, don’t you??
With technology moving 90 to nothing, your marketing plan likely isn’t the same as it was two years ago. Now we’ve got daily deals, social media and blogs taking precedence, where billboards and print advertising were hot a few years ago. It’s time to brush off your plan and make sure it’s current to your marketing needs.
Step 1: Review What Worked This Year
Look at the marketing tactics you used in 2011. What worked? What didn’t? Focus on the strategies that worked well and aim to ramp up efforts and budget in these areas, while culling those that were less successful. I’m willing to bet social media played a role in your success this year. So why not add to your plan more efforts on Twitter, Facebook, and yes, Google +?
Look at partnerships. Who was a great advocate of your brand this year? Maybe it was a customer, or a blogger who wrote about your products. Find a way to work with these brand evangelists again in 2012 through a more structured program.
Step 2: Create Action Items
A plan doesn’t go very far if you don’t have action items to accompany it. For each strategy in your plan, list out what needs to be done to make that happen. For example:
Goal: Increase clickthroughs to site from Twitter, Facebook and G+.
Action items:
  • Add X followers to each site weekly
  • Increase daily postings to Y
  • Start asking daily question tied to blog post

Once you have your action items, assign them to someone and set a due date. If it’s a weekly task, like the one above, plan for a weekly or monthly followup to ensure it’s on track. At the end of the year, you should be able to look back and make sure that all tasks were done, which means your goal should be achieved!

Step 3: Discuss the Plan

If you’ve got a team, they need to be in on the marketing plan. Hold a meeting to discuss the plan and let them weigh in with their own ideas. They’ll feel more vested in the success of this plan if you listen to their input.

Step 4: Check Back In

Once your marketing plan is finalized, don’t forget about it! Set a reminder on your calendar each month or quarter to see the progress. If a new social tool comes out in February (and likely it will), you may want to experiment with it as part of the strategy; you certainly don’t want to wait until next year to try it out! A marketing plan is meant to be a living, breathing thing.  It’s meant to be changed and updated as often as you need to, so keep it visible!

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as Mashable, Small Business Trends, FutureSimple, BizLaunch and Lead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

Photo: Stock.xchng user paolamuria. Royalty free.


2 responses to “What's Your Plan for Next Year?

  1. I am certainly working on my 2012 business plans for sure. One of the things that I want to do is to launch at least one live event. Although doing business online is good, I do miss the social interactions with people in person. And since many people do like attending live events, I’m going to slowly run them in the greater Toronto area to start. I’m not sure which topics will be launched first but this is something that I’m determining as part of my plans.

  2. Pingback: Dusting Off Your Marketing Strategy | Small Business and Entrepreneurship Experts, Tips and Advice | BizLaunch Small Biz Blog

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