10 Things Every Annual Marketing Plan Needs

Creating a yearly marketing plan gives your marketing initiatives for the year a fresh start. Better yet, you can move into new quarters and months with a pre-made structure that makes more detailed planning (and implementation) easier. Whether working from an annual marketing plan template, creating a plan from scratch, or considering working with a professional marketing service, ensure these crucial elements are in your plan. 

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1. Business Goals

This ties your yearly marketing plan to your business plan. Are you trying to grow your business within a set geographic range? Do you want to reach new markets? Or is this year all about reducing overhead and striving for efficiency to weather the economic storm? Take your business goals and reframe them in the context of marketing so you can make sure all of your campaigns tie back to them. 

2. Target Audience

Before building campaigns and deciding which channels to focus on, you must know who you should spend most of your marketing efforts on. Develop robust consumer profiles that illustrate your ideal buyers, referral partners, and first-time customers. You and your team will use these whenever you create a strategy or tweak the messaging in content.

3. Budget

A reasonable marketing budget requires some finesse, which is why it's so critical to start with an annual plan. If your business is established, creating a yearly budget and a month-by-month breakdown gets simpler—you have historical data to base your estimates on. But if your business is relatively young, consider working with a marketing service that can help you model your anticipated spending. 

Remember, your marketing budget should cover the following:  

  • Events 
  • Promotional campaigns and advertising, like pay-per-click ads  
  • Content creation (blogs, videos, emails, etc.) 

4. Marketing Mix

Choosing your marketing mix depends on which channels are the right fit for reaching your buyers. You can choose which marketing channels to employ, considering your target audience and where they are likely found. We know that marketing works best when your business can be seen and heard on multiple sources. Take the time to decide how much you'll invest in email marketing, social media, content, or paid advertising

5. Timeline

Your marketing objectives must be broken down into smaller goals and milestones. Not only can this help keep everything on track, but you can establish set points in the year for reevaluating your approaches. 

6. Metrics and Analytics

Similarly to your timeline, you'll need to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you assess progress and if your marketing activities bring enough value to your organization.  

Some popular KPIs include: 

  • Online traffic volume 
  • Lead generation 
  • Lead conversion rate, or the percentage of unique visitors that become genuine leads or customers 
  • Customer acquisition costs so you can be sure your ROI stays positive 

7. Competitor Analysis

Don't market in a vacuum: keep track of what your competitors are up to. You might include an analysis of your top competitors, research their content marketing approaches and spread of ranking keywords, and stay current on their market share. You can use this research to identify your competitive advantages and develop your unique selling proposition (USP). 

8. Brand Messaging

Good branding has a consistent tone so your target market can recognize and trust your brand. If the messaging is inconsistent and unaligned with their needs, it simply won't work. Develop a style guide, clear messaging principles, and other resources, so everyone on your team provides content with the right messaging. 

9. Marketing Roles and Responsibilities

If you have a team, outline the responsibilities tied to each role. This step ensures nothing falls through the cracks. It can also help you keep your marketing team organized if it grows or there's turnover. If you don't have an in-house team, you might work with marketing partners or outsource some of the work to third parties. In that scenario, it's still helpful to outline the roles and responsibilities of each service so you can keep everything covered. 

10. Contingency Plan

Every plan requires a backup plan, including your yearly marketing plan. A marketing contingency plan can help you recover quickly in an isolated emergency—like a printing vendor going out of business or a new competitor showing up—or a widespread crisis like a recession or pandemic. Contingency plans should include processes for pivoting, responding quickly, and adapting to ensure objectives still get accomplished. 

Start Developing Your Annual Marketing Plan with Mid-West Family 

Developing a marketing plan is crucial, but it can be overwhelming. At Mid-West Family La Crosse, we partner with small and growing businesses so they can build a solid foundation for their marketing efforts. Talk to us about developing your yearly marketing plan and finding the right services to implement your strategies.