December 13, 2021
Kicking Off 2022 with Proper Planning
As you approach a new year, it’s time to evaluate your marketing plan. This is your opportunity to set yourself up for success in 2022, look at your goals for the upcoming year, and align your strategies to them. If you have ever felt like your strategies and tactics are missing the mark and your ROI needle is not moving in the right direction, that could be a curse of poor planning or “winging it” versus planning.
Imagine there is glue that is connecting all your marketing and business strategies together. When the right activities are done at the right time to the right audience through the right channels, it just works. That is the beauty of proper planning. Your marketing plan is a roadmap for you to organize, execute, and track your marketing strategy over a given time. Marketing plans can do so many things, but one of the most important is bringing your ideas to fruition to help you track results. It’s also a great way to stay mindful of your budget and the success of your overall campaigns. Marketing planning, in other words, is the opposite of winging it.
The real magic happens when your business strategy and marketing plan align because the individual activities that are being done daily feed into the bigger picture. This starts to deliver the much greater returns on your marketing investments that are being made, and it also provides clear overall strategy.
Here are the four steps to creating a marketing plan for the new year:
- Identify your goals
- Be consistent
- Make your plan measurable
- Provide clear direction
Identify your goals
Imagine your business strategy as an umbrella, and to make up the umbrella you have different arms that help support it, like your budget and acquisition goals. Another important arm is your marketing plan, that contains marketing strategies in which you want to accomplish your goal while keeping the other arms of the umbrella also in mind.
Let’s say you work at a credit union and have an auto loan campaign coming up. Your goal is to bring in new loan volume that is 15% higher than what you achieved over last year’s auto loan campaign. Without a marketing strategy and overall plan, this lofty goal could be hard to achieve. In this instance, a marketing plan would tackle how to promote the loan campaign from start to finish, what marketing elements are to be used, and what return on investment reporting can be generated so a clear picture of what you did well can be used again in the future. Use your marketing plan to figure out what it is you want to do and why, and then go and do it.
Only marketing yourself when you need a business boost is not sustainable. While it may it give you a temporary spike in new clients or loan applications if you’re a financial institution, it won’t benefit your business in the long run. Creating a strategic marketing plan means implementing it constantly so you create a foundation. When you’re consistently marketing your services and offerings, you’ll be able to understand what works, what doesn’t work, and what’s truly growing your business so you can focus on those things moving forward.
Make your plan measurable
You created a marketing plan, but how do you know if it’s working? You can create KPIs (or key performance indicators!) for your plan. KPIs are quantifiable, measurable, and actionable and should be closely tied to your goals.
Let’s use that auto loan campaign again as an example. Let’s say your overall goal is to increase auto loan applications. Okay, by what number or what percentage? Are you comparing this year’s to last year’s or the year before? Who is your target audience? These are all questions you want to answer before launching your plan. When you start to get specific with your goals and how you’ll measure them, you’ll start to see results. Making a measurable plan can help you understand what worked well and what can work for future financial campaigns.
Provide clear direction
Start with a plan that’s focused on clear objectives, such as helping your brand stand out, get noticed, be memorable, and connect with customers. For financial groups where products can be similar, it’s super important to be specific. Your goals should be clearly defined and outlined. Make sure those goals can be measured and achieved. Be relevant to your brand’s mission and direction as a business and keep the strategic business plan in mind. Be timeline bound, with each goal having a timeline that indicates when the objective starts and when it stops.
The best performing businesses are those that have absolute clarity of what they are doing, what is expected of them, and how they are performing. Through clear strategic and marketing planning, everyone knows the growth goals, their role in achieving it, and how each member of the team can contribute to success. Developing marketing plans are the foundation for successful marketing. strategies.