Thinking about your 2015 marketing can be hard while you’re in the midst of current projects. But if you’re prepared, you can begin the year with a plan for new successes in 2015. The following are a couple suggestions for the planning process:
- Examine your 2014 performance year-to-date.
This might include reviewing financial performance, year-over-year sales and marketing performance. If you have external marketing partners, they should be able to provide you with an annual report. This data will give you valuable benchmarks for defining success next year.
- Renew external marketing partner relationships.
Since most vendor contracts expire at the end of the year, this is also a good time to evaluate their annual performance to either renew or redefine your relationship.
- Meet with your internal leadership.
Within your discussion, you should find out what has been working for them, what they need for 2015 in terms of tools or staff, and what trends they foresee. This will change the way you structure your plan.
- Evaluate whether research is needed in order to plan for 2015.
Research tells you a lot about your business, whether it’s internal or external. This might be a survey of your employees or clients, a review of consumer buying decisions, competitor benchmarking or discovering new opportunities to measure success. If you need it, it’s essential to budget for it every year!
- Ask your sales and marketing team to put together an industry forecast.
Change happens, so make sure you’re aware of what is happening with competitors, the economy, social behavior and technology. If you can plan for change, it’s often easier to manage when it occurs.
After following these five steps, you should now have an idea of the budget available and the areas that require allocation in 2015. Congratulations, you’re now in great shape to start making crucial decisions when it comes to your 2015 marketing plan!
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Photo Credit: Flickr’s Brian Pope