For many companies, marketing is an afterthought. When you’re busy focusing on the day to day tasks of keeping your business running, it’s easy to put marketing on the backburner if it’s not your primary responsibility. Just checking boxes or throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, don’t usually yield the results you’re looking for. To truly see ROI, strategic planning is critical to your overall marketing efforts in 2023. Below are 8 simple ways you can start thinking about your marketing plan more strategically.
1. Look Back
You can’t know where you want to go without first looking back at where you’ve been. Depending on the success of your business, looking back can be super encouraging or just downright depressing. Whichever side of the coin you’re on, reviewing and being aware of your successes, failures and learnings is key to strategically planning for the future. It’s not just having the data, but instead understanding the data and how it can help you get to where you want to go next.
2. Set SMART Goals
Marketing departments who work off the same or similar goals each year tend to see little to no results. Businesses, and especially the digital landscape, are changing daily. Evolving your goals to align with the latest trends and organizational changes is key to being more strategic and successful in your marketing efforts in 2023.
If you really want to take your marketing to the next level, then specific goals that are measurable, yet attainable are also going to be key. SMART goals aren’t a new concept for most people in business but are an age old standard for goal setting that has survived the test of time because they work. Without knowing what you’re traying to achieve, there is no real way to strategically plan, so setting goals that you can evaluate on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis is key to a more strategic marketing plan this year.
3. Take Inventory of Your Current Program
Once you have goals, it’s easy to evaluate if where you’re spending time and money towards marketing is right for you. As you’re taking inventory, ensure all of your marketing assets also align and can be useful towards reaching the goals you set for 2023. Ask yourself these questions as you evaluate if what you’re currently doing has you on the right path for success?
- Do I have the right tools, partners and people in place to reach our goals?
- What is missing from my lineup?
- Where is the majority of our time and/or budget being spent and is it helping us grow closer to reaching our goals?
- Are there any essential marketing assets we are missing to effectively communicate our message?
- Are we set up to successfully track the relevant numbers needed to define success accurately?
4. Know What’s Happening in the Market
If you’re not keeping an eye on the market, chances are your strategic marketing plan isn’t so strategic after all. Not only knowing what’s happening on a local, national and global scale, but also knowing what’s happening amongst your competitors is key to strategically staying ahead. It’s also imperative that you understand industry norms and averages so you have a relevant benchmark for success as you dig into the data to evaluate what’s working for you and what isn’t.
5. KPIs are a Necessary Evil
You likely have never had a conversation about strategy without the mention of KPIs. KPIs, or key performance indicators, help put specific measurables in place to truly understand the performance of an effort and whether it’s getting you closer to accomplishing your goals. While it can tend to be an overused word in the corporate world, KPIs are essential to defining a successful strategic marketing plan. Depending on what efforts and strategies you adopt, it’s important to ensure you have relevant KPIs that will help you reach your end goals. They’re also a great way to evaluate in real time whether you may need to pivot goals or efforts in real time verses waiting until the end of the year and realizing you missed a goal completely because you weren’t measuring success properly along the way.
6. Maximize the Budget
The reality is that everything in business costs money, and marketing is no different. Once you have KPIs you can easily assign a budget to the right buckets within your plan. A strategic marketing plan will take some sort of financial investment, so evaluating how much and where to spend your money is going to be key to success. Think through what people, technology, and other tools you’ll need to invest in to get where you want to go. The reality is, if you want to grow your business you likely need to expand your budget for marketing. This doesn’t have to be a huge increase, but it truly does often take money to make money.
7. Put a Plan in Place
Outlining key campaigns, product launches, and events will help you see the year form a holistic marketing perspective. Having a high level road map for the year will help you to think more strategically in the day to day and make the overall plan seem much more achievable. Just as you’d map out a social schedule or content calendar, the marketing plan should be mapped out for the year as well if you want to have a more strategic approach to what you’re doing. This doesn’t mean you have to know every little task that may be needed between January and December, but it does mean that themes, major events and campaigns should be identified so that you can ensure there is a strategic approach to marketing those verses rushing to the finish line, as we all know important deadlines love to sneak up on us.
8. Revisit the Plan Frequently
We live in a world that moves quickly and big things happen that can completely change the trajectory of our businesses. This means visiting your goals, KPIs and overall plan at least quarterly to ensure the strategic plan you put in place is still relevant is a must. It’s important to pivot as the world evolves. Reflecting on what you’ve done and whether the results show you’re on the right path is key to a truly successful strategic marketing plan. Setting deadlines and outlining a plan to review your current status will ensure you don’t go too long or invest too much time and energy somewhere that isn’t putting you closer to achieving your overall goals.
A strategic marketing plan with time, energy, effort and budget behind it is truly the only guaranteed way to take your business to the next level. Some people get lucky, while others grind it out, but being strategic in your approach to marketing and communicating with your current and prospective buyers, is truly what will make the difference. If you’re not sure where to begin or just don’t have time to do it all yourself, JSK Marketing is here to help. We exist to serve as an extension of your team, providing a fresh perspective on how to get where you want to go. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get where you want to go in 2023 and beyond.