It’s coming to that time of the year again – your boss is asking you what your plan is for 2015 and what your budget should be.
But questions like this can be overwhelming: I mean, how do you plan for the next 12 months of digital marketing? Well, everyone does their planning differently, but these are the elements that I think every plan should have.
Where are we at? Your starting point should be a really honest assessment of where the company is at. This could be in the shape of the classic SWOT analysis, as it takes into account internal factors (e.g. resource) and external factors (e.g. competition) – this document will help you to identify the opportunities that you are going to spend a year going after, so some honesty and insight are important here.
Opportunities => Objectives: If you decide to use the SWOT analysis, use the opportunities section to start generating your plan – when you start to hone these down in a to-do list then you are starting to move from opportunities to objectives, and objectives to tactics.
Relevant Objectives? It is important to have some parameters to your digital marketing plan. The most important parameter is the direction that the business is heading in. You should take into account the top-level objectives of the organisation when puling your plan together – this will make it easier for your plan to gain buy-in from the senior team. If your actions don’t support these wider objectives, should you be pursuing them? You should also make these objectives realistic both in time and achievement – don’t panic, the business will stretch the target if they think it’s too simple to hit!
Customers – Today and Tomorrow: You should take a look at your customers, in terms of who they are today and who you would like them to be in the future. You should have plans to retain your current customer base while looking at recruiting new ones, and developing plans around this – where are these customers and how do we engage them?
…Then Products, Process, etc.: Only after you have completed your customer analysis should you move onto product, price, process, people and the rest of the P’s. If you are truly customer-focused, and most companies claim that they are, then you should create products for your customers, not sell the product you have to customers.
Consider all tools: Digital marketing offers a wide range tools – website, social, email, mobile app, SMS, PPC, SEO, affiliates, partners etc. You should spend some time working out what combinations of these tools will help to achieve your objectives. Naturally, the tools that you use and the frequency with which you use them will tie into your budget which may be ‘bottom up’, where you add up the cost of your plan and that’s your budget, or more likely ‘top down’, where your budget number is given to you.
Get Selling: Even if you do class yourself as a digital guru / leader / ninja it is unlikely that you are going to be able to deliver your plan on your own. So, start to share your plan with your internal stakeholders, e.g. the senior guys, and external stakeholders too, e.g. your marketing agency. You can do this when you are pulling your plan together to ensure that you are on the right track, or after the plan has been signed off to gain buy-in.
The plan is just the start… Now it’s time to start delivering the plan! You must keep measuring your activity and reviewing what you have done, so that you can amend your plan throughout the year and get the best bang for your buck. Sometimes an annual plan can be a little overwhelming, so keep a rolling 90 day plan which is set in stone (or kind of set in stone!).
Have you started your 2015 planning yet? What else do you include in your digital marketing plan?Image via simplydigitalmarketing.com