It’s December. What are you doing to get ready to hit the ground running in January 2016? As budgets come to a close, it’s not the time to sit back and wait for the new year. The next few weeks should be busy. Really busy.
Too many organizations wait until January to start planning their marketing campaigns and setting budgets. The problem is, if January 1st comes and you don’t know your budget, what programs you’re going to run, corporate goals or your resource capacity, you’re already late. January should be about executing, not planning. That means your planning needs to happen in 2015 or your numbers will suffer in 2016. Why start off the year on bad footing?
Let’s do this differently this year. Let’s be proactive and do the heavy lifting now so 2016 can start with a bang.
Step 1 - Evaluate the Ups
The first step in planning for 2016 is to look at 2015. You must have access to all of the data from the year to answer:
- Which marketing campaigns performed well?
- Where did we spend our money?
- Where is our investment consistently paying off?
This exercise should look at every marketing campaign, large or small, across all channels. Performance metrics should easily flag those campaigns that really made a difference. Those are the ones you want to note. What was their expected and realized value? You must consider how much of the budget these successful campaigns required to really understand their actual value. What was the ROI? Basically, was it worth it?
Step 2 - Evaluate the Downs
Step 2 is looking at which marketing campaigns didn’t work so well. Now, here’s where some go wrong. We aren’t looking just at the campaigns of 2015 that didn’t do well so we can pull the plug on them or decide not to repeat a similar program in 2016. Instead, the goal is to look at which campaigns may need tweaking, which need to be cut, and which need more time.
Data is great but it can also present false positives. Some campaigns may look like they aren’t pulling their weight, based on what the data is showing today. But some of those campaigns may deliver results over time. You have to take the necessary steps to evaluate each campaign individually so you can determine if giving some a little more time might pay off in the future.
By the end of this step, you should have every campaign in a designated bucket: keep, ditch, and TBD. Those that you keep are the ones that bear repeating or need a few modifications going forward. Those that you ditch need to be evaluated to determine what went wrong. And those those that are TBD should have set deadlines one when you expect to see a return or at the least, when they should be re-evaluated.
Step 3 - Design
Step 3 is designing your new programs and taking a good look at your existing campaigns. The number one question you should be asking for both is, “Is this campaign aligned with the 2016 corporate goals?” Of course, this requires you to know what the 2016 corporate goals are. How in tune are you with the business strategy? Every campaign you launch should have a direct link to a specific corporate goal.
This sounds easy, but it’s often a stumbling block for marketers. For instance, you may have just completed an incredible sales campaign that resulted in a boat load of new leads and conversions. You may think it’s time for an encore performance in 2016, especially if you’re just looking at the data that backs it up. The problem is, your company has named 2016 as “The Year of the Brand.” Their focus isn’t on sales as much as it is building the brand. If you come with your ideas to boost sales and don’t offer a program to boost the brand, you’re on the wrong footing already. Get in synch with the business needs before you design any programs.
Step 4 - Budgeting
Step 4 is all about budgeting. Budgets should never be a reactive action, but proactive. Look at all of your historical results from 2015, such as cost per lead. Go to the CEO with the metrics they want to see:
- Here’s what we did last year
- Here’s how we did last year
- Here are the corporate goals for this year
- Here’s what marketing is going to do to help the company meet those goals
Step 5 - Ready for Takeoff
Now that you’ve determined your programs and set your budgets, it’s time to do the housekeeping. Make sure any contracts are executed, resources are lined up and the infrastructure is firmed up so when January 1st comes, you can pull the trigger.
Of course, we can’t leave without saying you need marketing measurement and predictive analytics to see what you need to do. Hive9 makes this typically painful planning process easy. January is just around the corner. Will you be ready? We can show you how.Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed under CC BY 3.0