Now that fall is right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to spend not only your holiday marketing budgets (if you haven’t already), but next year's marketing dollars as well. While preparing for the important holiday marketing season is critical, it’s also the perfect time to start creating next year's plan. This article will cover why you want to be planning annually, and why do it now.
Marketing Starts Early For the Holidays - Be Prepared
Important to note first is that we are already more than halfway through the year and there is still a lot of marketing to do. It seems like every year marketing (and shopping) for the major holidays starts earlier and earlier, and it is vital for your business to be on point. You may notice as you browse the stores how Thanksgiving items go on sale right around Halloween (or sooner). Then starting November 1, all of the Christmas stuff is out and businesses are in full force as shoppers are grabbed by special promotions and discounted items on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Tuesday, and so on.
While this article is meant to focus on next year's marketing planning, we want to be sure it’s clear that if you haven’t already planned and placed your holiday marketing campaigns, that needs to be top priority.
NOW is the Time to Get Started
According to most marketing experts, if you are not planning next year’s marketing by September (or earlier), you are too late. If you wait until late fall, your business could miss out on key media placement as well as become an afterthought to important distributors and retailers.
If you are gearing up your business to capitalize on these big holidays and managing the influx of customers later in the year, you won’t have a whole lot of time to think about what you are going to do next year… which is why September is the perfect month to work on and finalize next year’s plan.
Early planning is instrumental in meeting targets while helping to align your marketing strategy with long-term business goals. OKI Data Australia’s AN/Z Marketing Manager Antonio Leone told CMO that laying out all planned marketing spend can prevent a business from falling into the budget trap. Allocating dollars for next year and managing monthly projections can keep things moving smoothly all year long.
Talk to Your Team and Lay Everything Out on the Table
It may also be beneficial to seek input from the sales team and other stakeholders to make sure that their needs are being met throughout the fiscal year. Maybe the owner is adamant about running a Facebook campaign for some reason or the sales manager depends on a costly lead generating tool to do his/her job- make sure that if that’s coming out of the marketing budget, that you are aware of it and funds can be allocated towards their success.
How to Get Ahead
When planning your marketing for the year ahead, look closely at your current metrics to determine what is working and what isn’t. Are you benchmarking your email campaign performance, social media engagement, and advertising spend? Is there something that didn’t work that you can cut out?
Likewise, analyze your industry’s trends…is there a new social media network or trade publication that’s perfect for your business? Once you can analyze what’s working and not working from the past, you can plan for the future.
Take the Initiative Now
Remember that planning now for next year is the most efficient way to save time and money throughout the rest of the year. Take a look at your previous marketing strategy as a baseline for what worked and didn’t work, then get started on next year’s plan to ensure that you have enough marketing dollars to carry your business throughout the year.