Take the Stress out of Year-End Marketing Planning

By October 5, 2016Advertising, Branding, Marketing

Year-end planning season kicks off right around the time Halloween decorations start to appear. While Jack-o’-lanterns, candy and costumes are fun, budgeting, projections and meetings are often fraught with departmental infighting over costs, direction and priorities.

As marketing consultants, we’ve done our fair share of year-end planning. Naturally, we’ve become pretty good at it. Here are six suggestions to make your 2017 budgeting as smooth and stress-free as possible.

  1. Put last year’s plan away (for now)—It’s much too easy to simply repeat last year’s plan. It’s also dangerous. Odds are your staff has changed in some way or another, which means you may have lost one or more plan implementers. More importantly, you have probably gained some skills that enable you to do things better next year. Take advantage of what you currently have—and what you plan to add in the coming year.
  1. No Idea is too crazy. There is no better time to consider radical changes or new approaches than when a new year is approaching. Upon closer review, some of these ideas may not be economically or physically feasible–but at least you’ve pushed the boundaries. You should pursue at least one new and big idea every year.
  1. Get a rundown on what’s changed in marketing technology and get ahead of the curve. There isn’t any question that technology advancements increase exponentially. If you keep up with or at least consider advancements in search technology, web design, digital media and mobile applications, you’ll find yourself ahead of the competition in 2017.
  1. Take steps to know and grow your brand. Every company has one. If you don’t analyze and improve your brand, your marketing dollars might be dissipated by unrelated campaigns. A strong brand identity forges an entire communications plan that can make marketing implementation in 2017 a breeze.
  1. Get third party input. Have your agency help you establish a planning process. They can make it easier for you to see the forest for the trees, explaining new technologies and helping you determine the best way to spend your marketing dollars.
  1. Meet with department heads AFTER you’ve forged a basic corporate communications plan for 2017. In budgetary planning, the ultimate arbiter is always: “Does this marketing expenditure move the company forward?” With a plan in place, non-marketing executives will be less positioned to propose ideas that are inconsistent with the corporate objectives. You’ll save yourself valuable time by eliminating irrelevant programs.

At this time of year, our Account Managers and Executives are on the road helping our clients enact these suggestions and more as they write their 2017 marketing plans. We’d be happy to speak with you about your needs—even if you just want someone to bounce some ideas off of.