Is an Annual Marketing Plan that Necessary?

An annual marketing plan won’t magically carry a weak business; however, it’s how a solid business will hold ground in a tough market and reach new heights in a growing market.

As a growth-oriented business owner, manager or CEO, you have a business plan outlining your operations, financial plans, pricing model rational, target markets, market share potential, sales, products and services. For an established company, the business plan is based on a track record and extensive customer data. Without substantial historical data, a funded startup may base it largely on research and projections—which is presented to pre-seed and seed funding investors interested in the potential of the product. Truly, for any growth-oriented company, the business plan is an essential beacon to the executive team. It’s what gives investors and new business partners reason to believe.

For similar reasons, savvy leaders also take advantage of annual marketing plans.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a roadmap to take your brand from where you are to where you want to be. It includes your current target market’s motivators and pain points, the current state of the market overall for your products or services, who your competitors are, and where your brand stands within the market. A marketing plan describes your organization’s strengths, weaknesses and unique value proposition.

Based on this market research and situational analysis, a marketing plan outlines specific marketing goals, and the strategies and tactics to achieve them.

Clearly, the marketing plan has a big job. In fact, it’s the guiding light for the entire marketing program and team.

Is an annual marketing plan really needed?

Everything changes! What is the current state of the market overall for your products or services? In what new ways are competitors encroaching on your turf? Never mind how you were perceived two years ago, what do people think of your brand right now? How has your organization improved? What are its current weaknesses? Which products or services have you dropped or introduced? Is your stated unique value proposition still valid? What’s part of your marketing efforts are not working? What challenges are your sales people currently facing?

All of these factors are constantly changing, which is why investing in an annual marketing plan is so vital.

The annual marketing plan marks the big-picture goals for the next twelve months. It summarizes your current position and where you intend to be in a year. Within that framework, the annual marketing plan outlines priorities, new initiates, initiatives to be dropped, challenges and expectations. The central piece to this is the analysis of your past year’s successes and failures. By taking the time to assimilate previous year results, marketing momentum can grow significantly.

An annual marketing plan makes sense with ongoing marketing

Rather than hiring a marketer for reactive, piece-meal marketing tasks, partner with an agency that will lead your marketing program. This allows your marketing agency to be more like a proactive partner and more strategic in idea generation, implementation and marketing budget management. It will start with an annual marketing plan and reward you with brand awareness and lead generation to survive a tough market and reach new heights in a growing market.