Marketing your business is like many other things in life - you either fail to plan, or plan to fail. The good news is, developing an annual marketing plan can help you save a lot of stress - and money - in the long run.
The benefits of developing an annual marketing plan are many, but one of the main benefits is that you’ll maximize the bang for your buck. You’ll have a clear roadmap laid out, along with specific metrics to track various marketing efforts.
You’ll actually spend less money throughout the year, and it will make your life easier going into the year with a solid game plan as to where your marketing budget will be allocated.
Here are a few of the core reasons why annual marketing plans will save your business time, money, and headache.
1. Integration is More Cost Efficient
Many businesses that don’t have a marketing plan rely on buying various ads from various vendors, channels, and platforms on an ad hoc basis. While this may seem cost-effective in the short run, this approach limits the ROI businesses get from every marketing dollar they spend. You might do your digital advertising through one agency, radio through another, and social media through yet another. Developing a marketing plan before the year starts, will allow you to see where you can purchase multiple services from the same vendor, and develop an integrated marketing plan that will allow you to spread some of your marketing expenditures more efficiently across multiple channels.
2. Annual Plans Keep You Focused
The beauty of an annual marketing plan is that, once it’s developed and implemented, it will keep you on track and distraction-free throughout the year. By that, we mean you’ll be less likely to gravitate towards “shiny new objects” or new toys that might seem great, but may not offer up substantial ROI. New technologies and vendors are always pitching new products and services, and without a plan, it’s easy to get sucked into spending money on something that may or may not provide much bang for your buck.
3. Enables Effective Cross-Channel Marketing
Communicating effectively across all channels, like radio, digital, TV, and print, goes hand in hand with integrated marketing efforts. Only by developing an annual marketing plan will you be able to get the most out of your core marketing message across every channel. You’ll be able to use your radio jingle on YouTube, your storefront logo on your website, and so forth. How you’ll integrate all your marketing, and utilize it on each channel, is critical for an annual plan because it will help keep your messaging consistent. And not to mention, it’ll make your life easier throughout the year because efforts across channels will be strategized and streamlined.
4. Streamlined Production and Design
Speaking of streamlining, the final core element that marketing plans will enable is the process of marketing production and design. Instead of dealing with various agencies, platforms, and vendors, on an individualized or ad hoc basis (as previously mentioned), you’ll have a clear cut and efficient process for marketing and content production. You’ll be able to quickly produce things like blog content, website design, and radio jingles because everything (and everyone’s responsibilities) will be mapped out ahead of time. The money you’re paying to vendors, agencies, or freelancers will be maximized, and you’ll have a game plan to contain costs and optimize production throughout the year. Studies have shown that a focus on process significantly impacts outcome, and your marketing production process is no exception.
Having a marketing plan shouldn’t be optional at this point; it’s a critical component for your company’s budget, no matter what industry you’re in. By planning ahead, analyzing data along the way, and carefully evaluating the ROI of any and all efforts, you’ll see the bang for your marketing buck increase over time.