Updated: May 15, 2020
2020 Planning? Already?
But it’s not even sweater weather here in Houston.
Oh, planning season, the joy/the stress, the energy around new ideas/the pressure to prove results for a year that isn’t quite done, the wishlists/the budget cuts, the ups/the downs. In all it's glory, it is upon us. But it doesn't have to be scary. Like we say around here, it all starts with a plan, Stan...
We’ve compiled ten of our favorite tips to jump start your planning process and get your 2020 Marketing Plan ready for review and approval:
Review What’s Working Dig into your data and begin to compare YTD 2019 to the same period in 2018. Look at Google Analytics, email marketing trends, social media growth and engagement, total leads generated, and total leads converted. Explore your peaks and valleys then turn them into learnings and refinements for next year.
Pinpoint Your Pain Points Let’s be honest, not every day at the office is rainbows and Rosé. What were your toughest projects this year, and why? Was it a lack of resources? Collaboration issues? Poor planning? How can you apply what you learned on those not-so-shiny-and-bright days to your 2020 plan?
Step Back and Dig Deep It’s easy to get stuck in the churn of reporting... month to month, quarter to quarter, year to year... but take some time this year to look back at the last 3 to 5 years. Go beyond trends (although, those are important too) and document what new tactics or channels you’ve tried over the years. Why did they succeed or fail? Can you make a case for trying any of them again?
Dream Big and Dream Wide Get a bigger-than-you-think-is-necessary group together for a brainstorming session. Set clear expectations before you start: there are no bad ideas when brainstorming, and then spend an hour word vomiting out all of your big (and little) ideas. If budget and resources were unlimited, what would your ultimate 2020 marketing wishlist look like? The goal is to get everything out on the table. Later, you can sort through what sticks, and start to develop new and manageable ways to approach those uber big asks.
Get Real: Budgets and Resources First, audit your current year spending: where did your dollars go this year? What projects came in under budget and which ones went egregiously over? If your total budget for next year has already been predetermined, great! If not, consider how much you’ll need including people, tools, licenses, and ad spend. Your budget should include: content creation, content distribution, ad spend, trade media, hard costs.
Pick a North Star By this point your plan is starting to take shape. You know all the things you want to do and how much budget you have to get them all done. It’s time to pick a North Star. If you could only pursue ONE initiative in 2020, this would be it. Maybe it’s establishing a consistent cadence for your blog or e-newsletter, maybe it’s trying a new social media channel or tactic, whatever it is - define it. When you start to make tough calls on what your budget will bear you can come back to the North Star and consider: Is this something that will support the North Star? Is this repetitive of the North Star? Is this really a north star in disguise and maybe we should save it for 2021?
Dust Off Your Personas Review your evergreen materials, like personas. You know, the stuff you hand over to newbies to get acquainted with your marketing program. Even if these materials are only a year old it’s likely (we hope) that you’ve learned something new this year. Make updates accordingly.
Update Your Benchmarks By this point you’ve thoroughly reviewed your year to date data, so, did you aim too high or too low? Determine from your 3 to 5 year trends what growth in 2020 should look like. Maintenance mode should not be your goal.
Document it Your full suite of documentation should include your marketing plan and tactical breakout for the year, a detailed budget, a media plan, a high-level project work plan, and a yearly content calendar.
Start early and edit often. Look at you, you made it to the end of this list and you can check the first half of this step off your list! Starting early allows you to gather input from all necessary stakeholders and approvers with plenty-o-time for edits before final budgets are due. 60 days from plan start to plan approval is optimal, but 30 is doable.
Plan on, planners.
You are so ready for this! But if you're not, or you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, drop us a line anytime, work plans are our jam.