A solid annual marketing plan is essential for businesses small or large. Without a structured plan or strategy for the year, it is difficult to effectively measure desired results and manage budgets throughout the year.
The start of a new calendar or fiscal year is the perfect time to evaluate a previous year’s results, make strategy adjustments and formulate new annual marketing plans or goals for the coming year. If you don’t already have an existing marketing plan in place, this is the perfect time to start with a standard marketing plan template and build a more structured plan for the new year.
Evaluate Previous Year Marketing Strategies and Plans
Good annual marketing plans are constantly reviewed and adjusted based on market conditions, competitive analysis and overall performance. However, each new year also brings another opportunity to take a step back and evaluate the overall performance of the previous year’s marketing strategies and plans.
Some of the main areas of your previous year marketing strategies and plans that should be evaluated include:
Results based on marketing goals and objectives (leads, sales, retention or brand building)
Go-to-market product/service strategies
Planned budget allocations vs. actual spend
Marketing mediums utilized
Target audiences reached
Make careful note of the performance of each of these marketing plan areas throughout the year or at year end to build your next year strategies and plans. Use your existing marketing plan template as a start for building your next year’s plans.
Making Updates to Marketing Plans, Strategies and Tactics for the New Year
Seize the start of a new year as an opportunity to realign your marketing plans and strategies with your current business environment. After evaluating last year’s performance, decide how to reposition your annual marketing plans, strategies and tactics to maximize potential for the coming year.
Budget. Can your budget be increased for the new business year?
Goals. Are marketing goals and objectives shifting from branding and market recognition to lead generation and sales conversion? Make sure your marketing plans are developed to support your main business goals.
Strategies. Has changing competition and market conditions impacted your marketing strategies?
Tactics. Are you taking full advantage of new marketing tactics (such as social media or online advertising strategies)? Consider shifting focus on lower return on investment tactics to higher performers.
Setting Annual Marketing Plans, Goals and Objectives
The main objective of most businesses is growth, so marketing plans and strategies should be developed to achieve year over year growth whenever possible. This does not necessarily mean stretching goals and objectives beyond what is achievable, but merely striving to challenge your previous year’s marketing plans.
For the new calendar or fiscal year, consider setting new marketing goals and objectives in a few areas that are achievable and in a few that are not as easily attainable. This may include penetration in social media, improving ROI with online advertising, increasing lead generation or improving brand recognition. Make sure to include a measurement process in place so that your new annual marketing plans, goals and objectives are quantifiable and meet desired business goals and objectives.
Investing Money – Risk Versus Return on Investment
Investors, whether they avail of financial advisers or not, go through a process to determine how much risk they are comfortable with, and how much they are prepared to put in to achieve a desired investment return.
There are factors that affect a risk profile, including goals, the investor’s personality, age and timeframe, and experience and knowledge of investing.
Effect of Goals on Investment
For an investor who’s building wealth for retirement versus someone saving for a short term goal such as for a home deposit or a holiday, will definitely affect risk profile.
Effect of Investor’s Personality
Personality plays a part in your risk profile too since some people are by nature more comfortable with investment risk than others. And then again, it has bearing with the investor’s knowledge, experience and networking contacts.
Age and Timeframe on Investment
In terms of age, someone who is 35 years old — versus someone in his/her 60s — will have different risk profile. The 35-year-old may be prepared to take on an aggressive or higher element of risk as they have potentially an investment time frame of more than 20 years before they retire.
On the other hand, the 60-year-old individual may only have a few years until retirement so their risk profile is likely to be more defensive as they protect the wealth they have worked hard for.
Knowledge and Experience on Investment Strategy
In investing and acquiring an investment portfolio, risk profile affects not only the level of diversification within an investor’s investment portfolio but also the assets invested in. The investor’s risk profile is used to determine how assets in the portfolio are allocated. To an extent, the strategy and decision of an investor come to play in terms of experience and knowledge. There are two kinds of assets related to investment: defensive assets and growth assets.
Defensive assets – Focus on generating income, for example, cash and fixed interest.
Growth assets – Focus on generating capital growth as well as income, for example, property and international shares.
To come up with a balanced risk versus return in investment, a periodic review of investment plans is necessary. The investor’s financial adviser should be able to advise on the investment’s health through regular review of the plan and an assessment aligned with the investor’s goal, alongside the personal or business circumstances and with the market situation. This allows an investor to reconfirm tolerance for risk and to ensure that his or her portfolio is aligned with the risk profile.
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